CROWN POINT | Officials Wednesday hired one police officer and authorized the future hire of a second, to keep police ranks at an all-time high of 41.
Sean Steffel, 29, was sworn in by Mayor David Uran with approval by the Board of Public Works and Safety. Steffel will start as a patrol officer.
Steffel was chosen from among more than 100 candidates on a hiring list that required police academy graduation among other attributes, Chief Pete Land said.
"It was very competitive," Land said.
Steffel's hire fills a vacancy stemming from the May resignation of a veteran officer who moved to another state.
A conditional offer of employment will go out within a few days to a potential second new Police Department hire, with approval granted Wednesday by the public works board.
The potential new hire is currently a police officer in Indiana, officials said. The officer will fill a vacancy left by the retirement earlier this month of Sgt. James Poling, officials said.
Steffel formerly was an officer with the Hebron Police Department. He graduated from the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy in 2009.
The hires will be the latest since 2011, when three new officers were brought onto the department to build ranks to 41, the highest count in the department's history.
On a day dedicated to law enforcement, officials Wednesday also conducted an inspection of the department's fleet of 41 squad cars and supplemental vehicles including three motorcycles.
The full fleet is valued at nearly $1.3 million, including equipment, officials said.
The inspection was open to view at the city-owned sports complex on North Street.
"The community has made a huge investment in law enforcement," Uran said. "We wanted to show where the dollars were put to protect citizens."
Officials also ratified the promotion of police Cpl. Jason Murphy to sergeant and patrol officer Dominic Valsi to corporal.