Three new Columbus Police Department patrolmen have been hired to fill vacancies due to retirements.
Brandon Thomas, 24, who has graduated from the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy, is expected to complete field training by June 1. He is a Wayne County native who worked part time for the Indiana University Police Department while attending college. Thomas holds a bachelor’s degree with a major in criminal justice and minor in psychology.
James Butler, 26, was recently employed as a manager at the Johnson County Juvenile Detention Center. He holds a bachelor’s degree in secondary education from Franklin College.
Brian Voyles, 35, a Salem native who lived and worked in New York City for 14 years, holds an associate degree in criminal justice from the University of Phoenix.
Butler and Voyles will attend the police academy in Plainfield until mid-July. After graduation, both must complete an additional 14 weeks of training with a veteran CPD officer. Department spokesman Lt. Matt Myers Myers said neither Butler or Voyles will be considered fully vested officers until mid-October.
With four additional openings to fill by late May, it will be more than a year before training is completed and the 78-officer department is considered up to full force, Myers said.
Since retirements and resignations take place regularly, Myers isn’t holding his breath about having all positions filled next year.
“In the 20 years I’ve been here, I can only think of one time we were up to full manpower, and that only lasted about six months,” he said.
The department will continue to bring in off-duty officers to ensure that all shifts are properly manned to ensure public safety, especially on weekends, Myers said.
Lack of a full staff will prevent the department from moving ahead with planned pro-active programs concerning drug enforcement, property crime and domestic violence, Myers said.