NEWTOWN SQUARE–Two new police officers were hired at a special Newtown Board of Supervisors reorganization meeting on Wednesday evening.
According to supervisors Chairman Joseph Catania, senior patrol officer Steve Shallis submitted his retirement effective May 31 after 29 years of service in the township. The Board of Supervisors had previously made a decision to hire another police officer at a board meeting several months ago.
"About a year ago the chief and his staff went through a hiring process in which they came up with a list of candidates to replace the officers that either resigned or who were disabled," explained Catania. "At the time we were going to replace two and in the meantime, in recent months, we were looking to hire the second person on the list."
The first person on the list has already been hired, who was officer Christopher Barksdale. The second on the list was Dean Hodges.
"Based on previous motions, we made a conditional offer to him which he accepted. When you make a conditional offer...that triggers a physical and a psychological exam, and assuming they pass those correctly, that's the conditional part of the employment," further explained Catania.
Hodges was originally to begin July 1, but with the recent retirement of officer Shallis, Hodges' start date would be pushed up and effective immediately. The board voted unanimously to hire Hodges immediately to the force. The town will see approximately $18,230 in savings, which includes salary, longevity and benefits, with the retirement of a veteran officer and the hiring of Hodges as a new officer.
Hodges came from the Yeadon Police Department after serving six years as a full-time field-training officer. He received his bachelor's degree at the University of Delaware. According to Newtown Police Chief Dennis Anderson, Hodges attended FBI Inter-County Detective School, trained in Internet crimes against women and children and certified in tasers, terrorism awareness school and crime prevention practitioner, listed off Anderson.
"Like I said, he comes well certified to take the position and I know he's going to be a good asset, and a good complement to the officers we already have," said Anderson.
In addition, officer David Wilding was unanimously approved by the board, where they extended a conditional offer. If he passes the requisite exams, Wilding's tentative start date wll be June 20.
Wilding is also from the Yeadon Police Department, but served as a part-time officer and works as an officer in Aston as well as Nether Providence.
According to Anderson, Wilding scored third on the list of prospective candidates close behind Hodges. Wilding is certified in taser/OC Spray, sobriety check-point operations and interviewing juveniles for use of pharmaceutical drugs and domestic violence. This past January, Wilding received an award for his involvement with an investigation resulting in the arrest of two juveniles who committed 15 burglaries.
"I think we're getting two energetic people, who will do a good job," said Anderson.
An official swearing in ceremony will be held at the next supervisors meeting on June 13.