The New Albany Police Department has hired a new sergeant, promoting Joel Strahler.

The move, effective June 18, brings the number of sergeants back to four. The other three are Garrett Fernander, Kris Daniels and Curtis Baker.

Strahler, 47, began working as an unpaid reserve officer with New Albany in 1994 and was hired as an officer in 1997.

The police department had four sergeants until the resignation of Jilllyan Will on Sept. 22, 2017. Will received an $87,201 annual salary and total benefits worth about $42,500.

Strahler has a base salary of $89,382 and a total annual salary and benefits package of $136,107, said city spokesman Scott McAfee.

The other finalist was Marsha Hoctor. The city received 12 internal and external applications, said New Albany Police Chief Greg Jones.

As an internal candidate, Strahler will undergo five weeks of field training before assuming sergeant responsibilities, Jones said.

Strahler will serve as one of three patrol sergeants, Jones said. The fourth sergeant will serve an investigative role, overseeing two detectives, a school resource officer and a D.A.R.E officer, he said.

Jones said Strahler achieved top scores in the testing component of the hiring process and added that Strahler also has displayed knowledge and sound judgement during the nearly 20 years the two have worked together.

For his part, Strahler said he was honored by the promotion and is looking forward to helping current and future officers with their career paths while also assisting with the department as it grows to meet the challenges of the community.

Strahler said he takes pride in knowing he was part of the foundation that built the department as it is today.

"I have always been grateful for our community's support, the support from members of our other city entities and the support from our professional organizations, schools, and businesses throughout the city," he said. "Working in this environment often allows us to be proactive in a job that is usually only defined as reactive."

The department has 16 active officers, but that number will rise to 18 by the end of the year, Jones said. An officer hired in December, Steven Persinger, graduates from Columbus Police Academy the first week of July. Another new hire, Jacob Steinbrueck, was set to begin Columbus Police Academy on June 18 and will graduate at the end of the year, Jones said.

The department also is in the process of hiring two new officers, Jones said. The new officers, once selected, would begin police academy in December. That will bring the total staff to 20 officers, four sergeants and one chief, Jones said.