The Pickerington Police Department recently expanded following the addition of officers-in-training last month.

Officers Caleb Martin, Joshua Moore and Justin Parmenter joined the department Oct. 22, bringing its roster to 33 officers.

It's a net expansion of two officers because one of the men was a replacement hire for an officer who left the force earlier this year.

"We're going to be increasing the size and capability of our team, which is a positive impact," Cmdr. Greg Annis said.

According to information from the Pickerington Finance Department, Martin and Moore will receive annual salaries of $55,099.20. They also will receive annual benefits that include health, dental, vision and life insurance, as well as pension and Medicare contributions, that are valued together at $36,985.56.

Parmenter will receive an annual salary of $63,315.20. His annual benefits are valued at $38,706.81.

The new positions were funded by Pickerington City Council in the city's 2019 operating budget.

Councilman Tony Barletta said he supports the funding because "public safety is a priority for me."

"As the community grows, the police force needs to grow to have good response times," he said.

"We have an amazing group of officers, and if our chief requests officers, I trust him and will support him and our police force to the best of my ability," council Vice President Tricia Sanders said. "The safety of our citizens is always going to be a top priority."

Annis said the three new hires currently are completing their field training and are expected to continue working patrols alongside training officers until at least mid-December.

After they become certified with the department, they will patrol neighborhoods, business districts and roadways by themselves.

"They'll be making contacts with the public," Annis said. "We want them to have as many possible contacts as they can. That doesn't necessarily need to be from calls for service. It can be business checks, talking to kids."

Both Martin, 24, and Parmenter, 30, come from the Circleville Police Department. Parmenter also is a former Fairfield County deputy.

Moore, 24, formerly was a corrections officer at the Southeastern Correctional Institute, a prison in Lancaster. He's also a former officer for the Corning Police Department, and he's served as a military police officer for the Ohio National Guard since 2012.

"They're progressing very well in training," Annis said. "We're very happy with their performances, thus far."