LOWELL | With no expectation of adding more officers any time soon, the Lowell Police Department is finding other ways to get the job done.
The Neighborhood Watch program has been revived, and the maximum number of reserve officers has been maintained.
"As you know, we're very short-handed at the Police Department," Chief Erik Matson told the Town Council.
When asked, Matson said the most recent hirees, Officers Christopher Thompson and Nicholas Kaczmarczyk, will not be "street ready" until July when their training is complete. The two filled vacancies and did not add to the complement of officers in Lowell.
"Even at full staff, we're short all the time," Matson said.
He said the current roster of 12 officers plus the chief and assistant chief has not changed in 12 years as the town has grown.
The Neighborhood Watch program can help, Matson said.
A recent orientation session drew 20 people, Matson told the council, but more are wanted.
"We're looking for volunteers wanting to be involved," he said.
Another orientation will be held this month, Matson said.
It's important for residents to understand they can be a big help in protecting their community by being watchful and passing on observations, he said.
"Don't be afraid to call," he said. "That's how we caught that last burglar."
Four burglaries were reported last week.
The department's website at www.696cops.com includes a list of "good security habits" to keep burglars away. Go to the site and click on Squad Room.
For more information on Lowell's Neighborhood Watch program, contact Patrol Officer John Chase at (219) 696-0411, ext. 117, or Matson.