At this week's Bennington City Council meeting, an update on the police chief hiring process led to a broader discussion about the future of the Bennington Police Department. A few highlights:
- The recent recruiting and hiring process resulted in a very highly qualified candidate. Unfortunately, he got another job offer at the last minute and took it. We are now re-posting the position with the goal of finding a similarly qualified candidate, hopefully soon.
- To give ourselves more negotiating room in the hiring process, we approved an increase in the salary range for the chief position, from $45,000-$75,000 to $45,000-$85,000. Our panel of law enforcement experts will continue to screen for qualified candidates.
- The Mayor and the Council are in agreement on the policing goals for Bennington: Providing high-quality, round-the-clock coverage with our own local force. We aim to employ a chief and one to two full-time officers, along with part-time officers as necessary.
- Sergeant Tim Pittman, the Douglas County Sheriff's Office, and several part-time and reserve officers have stepped up to serve our city during the vacancy in the chief position. Hats off to them.
In other business Monday evening:
- We officially announced that Council member Chris Foltz has resigned, due to his moving to a new home outside of the city limits. The mayor will recommend a new representative for Ward 1 at the May 13 meeting.
- We approved a design for the new sidewalk connecting Ridgewood to the rest of the city and authorized the city engineer to seek bids for the work.
- We approved two new stop signs at the intersection of Center West Hadan and 160th Avenue. We anticipate these will be necessary as new homes to the west become occupied.
You can read the full meeting minutes here.
As always, I want to hear your input on these or other issues. Feel free to write, call, text, or now that spring is finally here, look for me on the soccer fields.