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DUSTIN COKELY

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RICK STEVENS

The Tunkhannock Borough Police Department has promoted one of its part-time officers.

In a special mid-month meeting on Jan. 15, Tunkhannock Borough Council unanimously approved Rick Stevens as a full-time officer in the department.

Council members Scott Douthett, Lisa Tesluk and Ron Coolbaugh were absent.

“We’ve got an outstanding police department and this is going to be a great addition,” said Tunkhannock Mayor Stacy Huber, who swore in Stevens shortly after the vote.

Tunkhannock Borough Police Chief Keith Carpenter thanked the entire council for its work in securing a new full-time officer, with a special thanks to borough manager Dawn Welch for staying on top of everything during the yearlong process.

“The entire process was stalled so many times,” he said. “It’s a gauntlet to get something like this done, and every time the ball stopped, she ran like a bull and kicked it.”

Huber echoed Carpenter’s statement, saying the process underwent with the Civil Service Commission was a “steep and long hill” to climb.

“A small borough has to face these big obstacles to get the job done,” he said.

The police department now employs three full-time officers and two part-time officers.

Council also appointed Dustin Cokely to acting sergeant in recognition of his 15 years of service to the police department.

“He’s continuously stepped up and performed additional duties when needed and he’s already stepped into the role of sergeant by taking over several of the assignments,” said council member David Wiggins, who took over as Police Committee chair following the departure of council member Marshall Davis.

At the recommendation of the committee, council also adopted two amendments to the collective bargaining agreement for borough police officers.

Under the amendments, any full-time officer hired on or after Jan. 1, 2020, will receive 10 days of severance pay after 25 years of service, and any full-time officer hired on or after Jan. 31, 2020, will not be provided with a Medicare supplemental policy.

Council also adopted a new sergeant test that Wiggins said is “more in line with the needs of a small municipality rather than the requirements of a big city police force.”

Switching gears, Mayor Huber said the incoming park commission members are already preparing to address issues in Riverside Park and plan spring and summer activities.

“Although it’s really early in the process, I think we are encouraged with what’s going on and we look forward to working with the new board,” he said.

Council member Dan Gay said the Planning and Zoning Committee plans to meet on Jan. 28.

Tunkhannock Borough Council has a regular meeting scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 6 at 7 p.m.