The once shrinking Thomaston Police Department will now be able to grow by an additional officer after voters approved allocating $81,000 for the department to expand its roster.
Residents approved the ballot measure Tuesday by a vote of 193 to 88. By adding an additional officer, Thomaston Police Chief Tim Hoppe has said it will allow for the department’s detective to focus solely on investigative work when on duty, instead of being called out to 911 calls.
The additional officer will also ensure that the department can keep up with the increase in calls due to commercial growth within the town.
“[Voters] want to invest in the police department, which I think is wonderful,” Hoppe said Wednesday.
Currently, the department has one chief, one sergeant, one detective, two full-time patrol officers and two reserve officers. The department has been this size since 1995.
The prospect of adding a new officer to the department is a stark reversal from two years ago when voters went to the polls to decide on whether or not to abolish the police department after it struggled to retain and recruit officers. But residents overwhelmingly voted in favor of keeping their police force.
With the addition of better benefits, Hoppe has been able to build back his department to a roster of five full-time officers.
“We’re going in a positive direction. We’re fully staffed at the moment. It’s exciting,” Hoppe said.
Hoppe said he believes the town will begin advertising for the new position soon and he hopes to hire a new officer this summer.