COVINGTON, KY – On Tuesday evening, the Mayor and City Commission authorized the hiring of three police officers to its Police Department and ten paramedics to its Fire Department, fully staffing both departments.
Approved unanimously, the City welcomed John Murphy, Alexandra Averbeck and Matthew Martin to the Police Department as Grade 1 Patrol Officers. The new officers are scheduled to start effective January 22, 2017.
With the hiring of the three police officers, the Police Department is now fully staffed with a total of 110 sworn police officers.
Assistant Chief of Police Brian Steffen stated, “The hiring of these three candidates is the culmination of a year and a half process to finally bring the Covington Police back to fully staffed strength. We are extremely excited to get these officers on board and on the street as soon as possible.”
The hiring of the three police officers follows additional positive improvements experienced by the Police Department over the last year. Improvements include the signing of the FOP contract agreement, resulting in a 10% increase in starting pay for new police officers, the purchase of 32 new police vehicles this summer and over $500,000 in state-of-the-art body camera technology.
Additionally, the Mayor and City Commission authorized four new police officer positions last winter, as well as a new civilian Computer Forensic Analyst position.
City Hires 10 Paramedics to its Fire Department
The Mayor and City Commission also authorized the hiring of ten paramedics to the City’s Fire Department, bringing it staff total to 114.
New hires include Whitney Craig, Joshua Davis, Benjamin Diesel, Jay Feldkamp, Christopher Harless, Robert Huser, Joseph Kappa, Jonathan Krull, Matthew LaFontaine and Tim Newman.
Fire Chief Dan Mathew stated, “The ten new hires will significantly lessen the load and physical burden experienced by our current 27 paramedics. Through this increase in workforce, the Fire Department will be able to have more bodies out in field, improving the City’s overall safety and creating a positive impact regarding the work we do.”
Originally, the City budgeted to staff 110 firefighters within the department, but thanks to the SAFER grant and contract changes, the City was able to increase its staffing to 114 firefighters and raise its minimum number of paramedics on duty from 27 to 32.
Earlier this year, the Fire Department also experienced positive improvements, including the replacement of older apparatus vehicles with top quality apparatus fleet vehicles, specifically a tractor drawn aerial ladder truck, two engine pumpers and two ambulances.
Additionally, the Fire Department and was awarded the $1.36M SAFER grant, providing the City with funding to hire eight full time firefighters.
The SAFER grant is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and provides two year grants to assist fire departments in paying the salaries and benefits of the SAFER funded positions.
The new paramedics will begin their 10 week training program on January 23, 2017.
City Manager Larry Klein stated, “To be able to have both the Police Department and Fire Department fully staffed is major accomplishment and something we as a City have been working very hard to achieve.
“We want to ensure our citizens and businesses are receiving the highest quality services offered. Through this increase in personnel, we are taking the necessary steps forward to ensure our citizens and businesses are safe.”