TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY
By Charlotte Underwood / Staff Writer
The London City Council held a special-called meeting Monday morning to hold the first reading of an ordinance regulating part-time police officers.
The ordinance stated that the city of London “has a need to supplement the police department’s workforce to maintain its current level of sufficiency and ability.”
Police officers hired as part-time employees will be used on an “as-needed basis,” according to London Mayor Troy Rudder, who explained that any part-time officers would mostly be used at city activities and events such as parades and festivals.
“Some of these activities are causing us to run short and that is mainly what this is for. Sometimes we run into a situation, especially in the summer, where officers take vacations or are off on training and there are occasions that we need a part-time officer that we need to come in and work the streets, but mostly they will be needed to work the extra curricular activities,” Rudder said.
Part-time officers will have to meet certain requirements for employment, according to City Attorney Larry Bryson who read the criteria aloud to city council members.
Applicants must be certified as a police officer in Kentucky, and they shall also be subject to national and state background checks. The ordinance also requires that applicants have at least five years active law enforcement experience. Anyone applying for the positions will be interviewed by London Police Chief Stewart Walker and the mayor.
Part-time police officers would not get paid sick time or any other paid leave and there would be no health or life insurance supplied either. Part-time officers may be assigned a maximum of 99 hours per month, according to the ordinance. Pay compensation for part-time officers is at the discretion of the mayor. The ordinance concluded with the statement that paid part-time officers “serve at the discretion of the chief of police.”
City Council member Bobby Joe Parman asked about the five years of active law enforcement requirement. Rudder explained that it was the chief of police that had suggested that requirement.
“Stewart is the one that came up with at least five years. We don’t want someone who has just graduated and not without a lot of experience,” Rudder said. Council member Jim Hayes said that while he supported the ordinance, he wanted to make a statement on the record.
“I don’t want this to be a prelude to a new category of regular policemen that we have that we can’t or don’t want to pay benefits just because we can hire someone cheaper,” Hayes said.
“That is definitely not what we are looking toward. This will be mainly for the extra activities that we have,” Rudder said.
City Councilman Dan Phelps asked the mayor if the city was “looking at a limited number of part-time help?”
“It will be on an as-needed basis, but we will have two or three available in case they are needed. Most of these people, especially the retired ones, can come back and work a little bit and they will already have their benefits because they are retired,” Rudder said.
Bryson said that when Stewart first mentioned this, he spoke about the benefits of hiring retired officers.
“When a police officer retires after 25 or 30 years, all that knowledge and experience goes with them, so this is a way to bring back people with that training and experience,” Bryson said.
“We run short sometimes when we have people out on vacations or in in-service and we just want to have people we can call on in these situations,” Rudder said.