The New Albany Police Department has added a fifth sergeant.

The promotion of Kevin Deckop was announced May 11. He was sworn in May 5.

According to a news release from the city, Deckop has served as a detective, patrol officer, school resource officer, bicycle officer, property-room custodian and technical crash investigator during his 21 years with the department.

His most recent role was detective, according to city spokesman Scott McAfee.

Deckop has started field training as a sergeant and is slated to complete it Friday, May 22, according to the release.

McAfee said this will be the first time the department has had five sergeants.

"Part of the reason for the additional sergeant is a study done that suggested a fifth sergeant, in part because there are times when a senior officer fills the role of a sergeant because there isn't one on duty due to routine shifts or vacations," McAfee said. "Our staff has also grown as the community has grown."

In September 2019, Chief Greg Jones told ThisWeek the police department's sworn staff included four sergeants, 19 officers and Jones, for a total of 24. The total remains the same, but the department now has five sergeants, 18 officers and the chief, McAfee said.

For the sergeant search, Jones said, the department included internal and external candidates in the application process for the position. Deckop proved to be the best candidate because of his experience, judgment, intelligence and dedication to the department, city and community, Jones said.

"His fit within the department's culture and his institutional knowledge helped him stand out in the process," Jones said.

Deckop's new position has a salary of $94,365.70 and benefits of $28,913.53, for a total compensation of $123,279.23, according to city spokesman Scott McAfee. He previously had a salary of $91,034.84 and benefits of $27,520.82, for a total compensation of $118,555.66, McAfee said.

Deckop will serve as a patrol sergeant or a detective sergeant, Jones said.

Jones said he plans next week to interview sergeants interested in being the detective sergeant, and Deckop is being considered. The department's other sergeants are Kris Daniels, Garrett Fernander, Terry Nemeth and Joel Strahler, according to McAfee.

The addition of a fifth sergeant and the creation of the position of detective sergeant – a post the department never has had, according to McAfee – means that the department will evaluate secondary responsibilities for the sergeants, Jones said. Deckop will be assigned additional responsibilities that could include special events, outreach efforts and administrative functions within the department, Jones said.

For his part, Deckop said, he applied for the sergeant position to help the department as it grows.

"I feel I can help our department grow even more by sharing my knowledge and experience," he said.

He said he is excited about the ability to make a difference with the department's younger officers and encourage growth so New Albany continues to be a great place to live and work.

When he began working at the police department, New Albany was a small village, Deckop said.

"When officer Deckop began, there were about 3,000 residents in New Albany," McAfee said. "Today, there are almost 11,000, and the daytime population, including our business park and our school campus during the school year, is closer to 25,000."

New Albany officially became a city in 2011 after surpassing the U.S. Census Bureau's population threshold of 5,000.

Over the course of his employment, Deckop said, he has enjoyed working with people throughout the community.

"Because of the community and their support, the city administration and my fellow co-workers, New Albany has always been a place that I enjoyed coming to work for every day," Deckop said.

sole@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekSarah