HAMILTON — At its Thursday, Jan. 4, meeting, the Hamilton City Council hosted a swearing-in ceremony for three new officers for the Hamilton Police Department.
Officers Tyler Calvert, Drea Massey and Russell Oswalt were sworn in by Judge John Bentley.
Hamilton Police Chief Jordan Carter noted, “Calvert and Massey joined us after graduating from the police academy, and officer Oswalt joins us from the Fayette Police Department as an already-certified officer who has been working for several years.”
The three officers signed their oaths of office after the ceremony. “Thank you very much,” Hamilton Mayor Bob Page said. “We’re proud to have you on our force, and we’re looking forward to good things from you all.”
The mayor then asked for an update on the situation regarding putting officers in the schools in the city.
The chief began by noting school resource officers had been put into place in Hackleburg and Guin schools. Since the council meeting, it has been announced that Phillips schools will be adding an officer there.
Carter explained he wants to use the term “school protection officer,” instead of “school resource officer.”
“Basically, they’d do the same job,” he explained, “but using this term would allow me to place an officer who is certified, maybe in several areas. And I’d be able to place this person into the school on a rotating basis.”
The chief also plans to allow officers to volunteer. He noted he already encourages his officers to visit the schools as much as they can in between calls.
Carter said the same day of the meeting he’d had two interested prospects surface, after searching in vain for a lengthy amount of time.
“I’ve had a bit of a breakthrough, with some retired, certified people who have reached out to me,” he said. “They’re outstanding people, exactly what we’re looking for.”
The chief noted the Marion County Board of Education has agreed to pay the salary for an officer for 180 days.
“I want everyone to know, from the council to the mayors, to the school teachers, administrators, students and citizens of Hamilton--we’re doing everything we can,” he said. “We’re working toward getting this on the road.”
Carter noted he has been working on obtaining a school protection officer since his first day as chief, along with his other duties.
Responding, the mayor said, “I really appreciate the leadership you’ve shown since you’ve been on board, and the way you go out and make these things happen. We thank you for that, chief.”
The mayor also expressed his appreciation for the teamwork between the superintendent’s office, the state and the police department.
“It will work out nicely with them taking care of the 180 days reimbursement for those expenses,” he said. “They know we can’t operate our budget without some help, and they’ve offered that help, and it will help shoulder the burden of the expenses.”
Carter also shared his gratitude for all those involved, their leadership and the great communication across the board--from the principals, to the superintendent, to the people at the central office, he said.
See complete story in the Journal Record.