James Rada, Jr.
(11/1) While the Thurmont Police are
maintaining their presence on the town’s
streets, their officers are effectively down
to two-thirds of what they should be with no
relief in sight until next year.
“The vacancies and openings have taxed the current staff,
but Chief (Greg) Eyler believes the temporary short staffing issue can be
solved,” said Police Commissioner Chairman Tom Iaccarino.
Until recently, the police force had one officer out on
medical leave, two on light duty and two vacancies. One of the officers on
light duty has come back to regular duty, which leaves the eight officers to
cover duties budgeted for 12 officers.
“We’ve increased the overtime to cover the shifts and
we’re juggling shifts to cover things,” Eyler said.
He also said Frederick County Sheriff Chuck Jenkins has
offered to help fill in any holes in the scheduling with sheriff’s deputies,
but the situation hasn’t become that bad for the Thurmont Police yet.
“I am hoping that we can get fully staffed next year,”
During a recent submission period for potential applicants
for the police officer openings, Thurmont Police received 18 applications. Only
seven showed up for the actual testing, of which, one person started in the
current police academy run by the Frederick Police. However, the academy lasts
six months so it will be mid-April 2008 before the newest officer will be seen
Eyler said the problem he is seeing with applicants is
that they aren’t passing the background checks.
“They fail the polygraph or they have drug usage they
forget to tell us about,” Eyler said.
Eyler said the police force is seeking people with
integrity, who are dependable, who want to be police officers and who know how
to deal with the public.
Iaccarino said the Police Commission is also doing its
part to help attract and retain police officers for the town. Last year, the
commission recommending the town commissioners approved a new salary structure
for the officers and a new police station next to the Thurmont Senior Center.
“When you improve the salaries and give good working
conditions, you’re going to improve your recruitment and retention,” Iaccarino
Eyler said the commission has had in impact on the police
“Normally we wouldn’t get 18 applications for positions,”