CROWN POINT | A policy approved Wednesday by city officials lays the groundwork for training up-and-coming fire rescue department officers.
The policy creates the position acting company officer as part of a training program for preparing rank-and-file members to potentially replace officers as they retire or move on.
"It's a training opportunity to groom them to become officers," Chief Greg DeLor said.
The program would put an acting company officer in the front seat when fire crews respond to emergencies, where they'd issue orders and commands on the scene but be backed up by an experienced officer, DeLor said.
"It's an opportunity to gain experience over time until an opening comes along," DeLor said.
Acting company officers would fill in temporarily, but have the opportunity to test for future promotions, DeLor said.
Candidates for the post must have at least two years with the department and are required to have firefighter, emergency medical technician and hazard-zone command certifications.
Candidates also must have the written recommendations of shift captains and division chiefs.
Eligibility is based on seniority with the department.
Mentor officers would maintain supervisory roles while candidates lead firefighting crews.
Certification as acting company officer would be bestowed on successful completion of all training.
Chief of Staff Keith Stevens said the policy permits potential new officers to receive training yet keeps the department from becoming top heavy in its upper ranks.
DeLor said the policy was written in anticipation of the potential for several top officers retiring in coming years.