MERRILLVILLE | The Merrillville Police Department has made staffing adjustments after losing one of its officers to the town's Fire Department.
Jim Lilley, who was the head of the Police Department's detective bureau, served his last day with the department more than a week ago to become Merrillville's deputy fire chief.
Police Chief Joseph Petruch said Merrillville police Lt. Jeff Snemis has become the head of the detective bureau.
Petruch said the department will hire another officer, who will serve in the patrol division.
He said he hopes the new hire will receive training at the police academy in August.
Petruch said Merrillville officer Ray Smith recently joined the detective bureau after years as a patrolman. Petruch doesn't intend to move another officer to the bureau with Lilley's departure.
While the Town Council adopted an ordinance in February that selected Lilley as the deputy fire chief, he didn't begin working in the position until last week.
The Fire Department is transitioning from a volunteer service to a department with some full-time staff.
Last year, the Merrillville Town Council and Ross Township Board decided to form a fire territory, a separate taxing district, which has increased funding for the Fire Department.
The additional money allows the department to hire 12 full-time firefighters, but volunteers still will be needed to respond to calls.
The Fire Department has received 30 applications to fill the 12 spots.
Earlier this month, Fire Chief Ed Yerga said the hiring process continues. He estimates full-time firefighters could begin work by Aug. 1.