The Westwood Council voted in favor of hiring new police officers, but declined to make changes to the requirements for promotion during their last meeting.
Two new officers will be hired to fill existing vacancies in the Westwood Police Department, which have been open for months, Councilman Robert Miller told Patch. The department was also authorized to hire a third new officer if another vacancy opens in the next few months.
Officials have been narrowing down the field of candidates for months. The initial pool had about 200 applicants, most of whom were cut after a series of tests and interviews. Six final candidates remain from the police committee's most recent round of interviews.
Miller said he hopes to have candidates in place in time for the January police adademy classes at the Law & Public Safety Institute. The new officers could be out solo as soon as next summer if they do, he said. Otherwise, the new officers will have to attend the next class after that, which would be during the summer. The officers might not be ready until mid 2014 if that happens. Miller was optimistic the process could be completed in time.
"It's remarkable what gets done when you need," Miller said.
The committee and Police Chief Frank Regino had also proposed that the education requirements for promotions be changed. Officers currently need a degree to be eligible for promotion, but that rule has been in place for only one promotion to date. Miller said they had wanted to change it so that a degree plus a certain amount of experience or a greater amount of experience, with no degree, would make officers eligible for promotion.
The council voted 3-2 with one abstention against the change, but voted unanimously to authorize the promotion of a sergeant, lieutenant or deputy chief. The police committee may then make a recommendation to the council for the promotion and the council would vote on the matter.