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Jackson council adopts ordinance to expedite hiring of police officers

JACKSON – The members of the Township Council in Jackson have adopted an ordinance that will permit the hiring of certain police officers without an examination requirement.

During a meeting on Feb. 8, Township Council President Martin Flemming, Vice President Andrew Kern, Councilman Nino Borrelli and Councilman Alexander Sauickie voted “yes” on a motion to adopt the ordinance.

Councilman Stephen Chisholm was absent from the meeting.

Municipal officials said qualified police officers who are currently employed at law enforcement agencies throughout the state, as well as certain individuals who have received training, but who have not yet worked as a police officer, are now eligible to work for the Jackson Police Department without having to take a qualifying examination.

This development allows police department administrators to address staffing shortages by expanding their hiring options. Because qualified candidates are exempt from civil service testing, the hiring process will also be shortened.

The ordinance is the byproduct of new state legislation that allows an examination exemption for qualified officers. The legislation permits any municipal or county police department to hire exempt officers after an ordinance or a resolution has been adopted or passed by a governing body.

According to the legislation, the Civil Service Commission will grant a testing exemption for officers who have either completed a basic course for police officers, attended and passed a training course at an authorized institution, or completed a training program with a federal, state, public or private agency that meets requirements established by the Police Training Commission.

Officials said the purpose of the ordinance is to provide more options and more police officers.

During public comment, resident Richard Egan asked the council members about the ordinance.

Flemming told Egan the ordinance “allows a bit more latitude, mostly for interdepartmental hirings. At this point, we cannot hire an officer from a town that does not have civil service (requirements). This ordinance allows us to do that if we so desire.”

“So you are going to hire policemen who are fully vetted, who are actual police officers, if somebody works in a town that is not civil service?” Egan asked.

Flemming said the adoption of the ordinance gives Jackson officials the capability to do what Egan described.

“It does not say we are going to do it, it just opens the door to allow us a little bit more latitude to the officers we want to get,” the councilman said.

Egan said it did not sound right to him.

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