The Brownstown Police Department is seeking applicants to be the town’s newest police officer.
Detective Sgt. John Long turned in his resignation at the end of May, so his position needs to be filled.
Then the department will be short-staffed with two officers leaving for the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy on Monday. They will be gone through October.
Academy-certified officers are encouraged to apply, but it’s not required. The starting pay is $40,500, but the department will pay up to five years of certified service for lateral transfers.
Applications may be picked up at Brownstown Town Hall, and the deadline to apply is 4 p.m. June 29.
Chief Tom Hanner said only having four full-time officers to cover shifts will be the lowest he has had since becoming chief in 2011.
The job opening has been posted online on the academy’s law enforcement jobs bulletin board.
The hiring of an officer soon also is crucial to be able to keep a school resource officer covering the three Brownstown schools, Hanner said.
In 2013, Brownstown received $49,400 to create a school resource officer position and secure entrances at all three school buildings for the 2014 calendar year. The school corporation then received about $30,000 in 2015 and 2016.
After no funding was received in 2017, Superintendent Greg Walker decided to apply for a Safe Haven grant through the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute. The corporation received $15,570 to help cover part of School Resource Officer John Reichenbacker’s salary and benefits for this year. He works for the police department and is employed by the town.
“He answers just as many calls, if not more, some months than the rest of us just because the demand is so high now,” Hanner said. “The school has been great to work with, but $15,750 just doesn’t go very far. We’ve got to get some funding coming in. We’re giving a guy up, and the rest of us have to change the whole thing we’re doing.”
Long’s last working day was June 6, and his official end date was Thursday.
He said making the decision to resign was very difficult.
“I have wanted to be a police officer since I was a child,” he said. “I have dedicated my life both professionally and personally to this job.”
Long’s law enforcement career began with the U.S. Coast Guard from 1999 to 2003, and then he was executive director of the Jackson County Juvenile Detention Center from 2003 to 2007.
He began working with the Brownstown Police Department in 2007, and that lasted until 2011 when he said budget cuts threatened his position. He remained part time and went back to being the juvenile detention center’s executive director for two years.
He became a certified Indiana law enforcement officer in 2011, and once the budget crisis was over, he was able to return to full time in 2013.
Long has been certified as an operating while intoxicated/standardized field sobriety testing instructor, an Indiana Law Enforcement Academy general instructor and physical tactics instructor, a drug recognition expert and a crime scene investigator.
“I have attended countless hours of training in areas of intelligence, investigations, illegal drugs, use of force, traffic enforcement, law, drug interdiction and much more,” Long said.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in intelligence studies with a specialty in criminal intelligence and a master of business administration in management and strategy. He also has certifications in executive management and project management.
“I am very proud to have been in law enforcement and with BPD,” Long said. “Most of the certifications I have obtained, I was either the first or one of very few that have done so with the department.”
Long gave four reasons for resigning: Inconsistent scheduling, lack of employee and family benefits, low salary/wages and no room for self-improvement.
With the scheduling issue, he said his years of service with the department and level of achievement did not translate into a more desirable shift.
Regarding benefits, the department recently joined the 1977 Police Officers’ and Firefighters’ Retirement Fund.
“That was a great addition for the department; however, family health insurance is unaffordable with the town of Brownstown,” Long said.
As far as pay, he said the department was competitive with other area agencies when he began 11 years ago. Throughout the years, however, he said the pay was not adjusted accordingly and declined in comparison.
“A recent raise was provided but is only roughly one-third of what is needed to be competitive and should have been provided years ago,” he said.
And with self-improvement, he said he believes in working hard and always learning.
“I have obtained more certifications and attended more trainings than most do in this profession because of my passion for it,” he said. “Despite my efforts, I remain unable to maintain my position on a desirable shift or use my certifications and training in any one specific area to benefit the department.”
For example, he recently was appointed as a detective for the department and became trained as a crime scene investigator, but he said he would have had to go back to night shift because of manpower shortages and inconsistent scheduling.
“This leaves me unable to focus on those tasks and in most cases conduct that type of work at all,” he said. “Despite the department’s size and the population it serves, there is a great need for this type of skill set and work.”
Long recently started his new job as a lab operations coach at the Cummins Technical Center in Columbus.
“I am looking forward to using my life experience, training and education,” he said. “I have a passion to always continue to learn from my mistakes, grow as a person both personally and professionally and better myself and my family.”
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The Brownstown Police Department is accepting applications for the position of police officer.
Indiana Law Enforcement Academy-certified officers are encouraged to apply but not required. The starting pay for a new officer is $40,500.
The department will pay up to five years of certified service for lateral transfers.
Applications can be picked up at Brownstown Town Hall, 200 W. Walnut St. The submission deadline is 4 p.m. June 29.
The minimum qualifications that all applicants for the position of police officer must meet include the following:
- Must be a resident citizen of the United States
- Must be 21 years old to apply and not have reached their 36th birthday by date of appointment
- Must have a high school diploma or GED certificate
- Cannot have a felony conviction
- Cannot have a misdemeanor conviction involving domestic violence
- Must possess a valid driver’s license from their state of residence
- Cannot have been dishonorably discharged from the military
Information: Email Lt. Joe Kelly at [email protected]