Brownstown Police Department growing


The Brownstown Police Department grew by three reserve officers Monday evening and may soon gain a ninth full-time officer.

That officer, once hired and trained if needed, would allow the department to provide a second school resource officer and decrease overtime costs, Police Chief Tom Hanner said during a town council meeting at town hall.

The town’s estimated cost for the new officer would be about $32,500 because Brownstown Central Community School Corp. has received a $62,500 grant to help fund two school resources officers, said Jade Peters, who is the corporation’s business manager.

The school will provide another $36,590 to fund the positions, he said.

Hanner said each officer costs $62,000 to $63,000.

Hanner said if the town didn’t add another officer, he would have to fill the second school resource officer with someone off the regular roster, leading to the remaining seven officers working more hours. Under the best scenario, overtime costs would be about $63,000 a year.

The two school resource officers also could be used in the summer to help reduce payroll costs by covering for other officers who use vacation time or have to be off for other reasons, Hanner said.

He said this year in particular has been costly since he and Assistant Chief Joe Kelly each were off on leave for nine weeks after a police-action shooting.

"And we had one off at the academy," Hanner said.

Councilman Gary Drake said he was in favor of adding a ninth officer.

"There are a lot of things going on in this community," he said.

Drake said the number of issues police were only to continue to grow.

"It’s not going to get better," he said.

Councilwoman Sharon Koch said she had no issue with adding a ninth officer as long as there is money to fund that position.

Brownstown resident Mary Ann Spray, a former school board member, said the corporation has needed a school resource officer in every one of its three buildings for years to address issues.

"Things are going to happen," she said.

The council eventually voted 3-0 to allow Hanner to proceed with the search for a ninth officer. Councilman Greg Goshorn, who was elected to replace Sally Lawson, did not vote. Lawson recently resigned from the council because she was moving out of the town limits.

The hiring process that could take anywhere from six months to a year unless Hanner can find an officer willing to leave another department, he said. A veteran officer generally will have graduated from the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy and already be participating the police pension fund.

Prior to the discussion about the new officer, three new reserve officers were sworn in by Clerk-treasurer David Willey.

The officers, who all have backgrounds in law enforcement, are Levi Caudill, Ben Cramer and Mark Reynolds. Caudill and Reynolds work as jailers at the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department while Cramer is the department’s information technology employee.

A former dispatcher, Cramer also has been a reserve officer with the town, but has most recently served as a reserve officer with the county.

The town hasn’t had any reserve officers in several years.

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