Heath City Council is expected Monday to hear the first reading of an ordinance to appropriate $30,000 to hire a new police officer.

Heath City Council is expected Monday to hear the first reading of an ordinance to appropriate $30,000 to hire a new police officer.

"We're adding one full-time position to replace Perry (Broseus)," said police Chief Tony Shepherd.

Shepherd said the city will advertise for the position the first week of June and offer a test for the position June 28. Candidates will be interviewed and background checks completed so the person can be brought in by July.

New officers spend three months in training before they can work on the street on their own, so Shepherd said it will be fall before the officer can be assigned to work alone.

The new officer will replace Broseus, a 28-year veteran of the Heath Police Department who announced in January his plans to retire. He is in charge of support services, controlling evidence in the property room and supervising the city's impound lot, along with operating the city's DARE program that teaches children how to avoid drug, gangs and violence.

Shepherd said Broseus is expected to retire at the end of December. He hopes to hire Broseus back in 2009 as a part-time officer devoted strictly to the DARE program.

That would leave Broseus' duties in support services to be shared by other officers. Sgt. Craig Black was recently promoted to supervise support services in anticipation of the position change, and Shepherd said Black is coordinating those duties now.

"Sgt. Black is working on how those additional duties will be doled out," Shepherd said. "We'll be asking everybody to chip in a little."

Shepherd said the new position will help with staffing issues, but he added that he feels the department is still understaffed.

He said the department has 18 officers, including him. He said Heath needs 21 officers to handle its territory.

"This will help some but I certainly could use a few more than one," Shepherd said.

Shepherd called Heath "a very dynamic area" with the amount of commercial and retail businesses in the city and said the department receives a lot of calls for service.

Heath Mayor Richard Waugh said he hopes hiring the new officer can help the department cut down on overtime, which has been an issue in the past.

Before Broseus can be rehired part-time as the department's DARE officer, Shepherd said Broseus must be off work for 60 days, according to guidelines set by the Public Employees Retirement System.