The hiring process is expected to begin late this summer to add police officers in Miami Twp. after voters last week approved a property tax hike.
“We’ll start the hiring process this year because it takes a while,” said Miami Twp. Police Chief Ron Hess, who is also serving as acting township administrator.
“You advertise. You have interviews. You have backgrounds to do,” he said.
Hess said he expects to hire up to three officers. Fifty-seven percent of voters approved Issue 3, a 5.5 mill replacement levy to take the place of a 5-mill levy that expires Dec. 31.
When it is fully staffed, the department has 39 officers, far short of federal recommendations for a community of that size, township officials have said.
Advertisements for the new officer positions will likely start in September and be posted for 30 days, Hess said.
Interviews will follow “depending on how many applications get….. And then we’ll sit down and break down the candidates on how we rate them. And then we do backgrounds. That takes a little while.”
The interview process should go into the Christmas season and “we probably will not actually hire people, most likely, until February,” he said.
Starting in January, the replacement levy will generate an additional $447,558 a year and cost the owner of a $100,000 home about $192.50 a year, records show.
That’s about $40 more per year than Miami Twp. property owners are now paying.
The new levy would generate about $3.35 million a year, officials said.
It is one of two issues the township uses to fund police operations. The other is a 5.25-mill, five-year renewal levy that was approved in November by 67 percent of voters, according to the board of elections.
The additional officers will help response times and the ability to take proactive measures to curb crime, Hess said. The township is a developing community of about 30,000 residences that is also home to Austin Landing and the Dayton Mall.
The growth has played a role in increasing calls for service. Last year, police covering the township’s 21 square miles responded to 30,066 calls for service in 2018, 1,482 more than the year prior.
The township has fewer than 25 officers to patrol an area where the population expands to 50,000 at night with the dining, entertainment and lodging corridors of Austin Landing and the Dayton Mall, police said.
Hess said he was “extremely grateful” for last week’s voter support.
“Anytime you ask for new money it’s always a gamble,” he said. “Even though we had a huge approval rating in November with the renewal, I hate going to people to get up to the staffing we need… and we’re still short of the FBI’s numbers.”
The FBI indicates a community the size of Miami Twp. should have 50 sworn officers, according to the township.
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