Petal PD hirings bolster department

By HASKEL BURNS,

The Petal Police Department got a boost late last month from the Petal Board of Aldermen, with board members voting to approve three promotions, along with the hiring of two new patrol officers and two new dispatchers in the department.

At the request of Police Chief Matthew Hiatt, who was sworn in as chief in January, those measures include:

• The promotion of Mickey Hurt to Sergeant at a rate of $19.79 per hour based on an 80-hour pay period;

• The promotion of Bill Holton to Sergeant at a rate of $18.85 per hour;

• The promotion of Daniel Klem to Sergeant at a rate of $18.85 per hour;

• The hiring of Cody Crawford full-time as a 1st Class Patrol Officer at a rate of $17.12 per hour;

• The hiring of Ryan Williams full-time as a 1st Class Patrol Officer at a rate of $17.12 per hour;

• The hiring of Rhonda Smith as a part-time dispatcher at a rate of $10 per hour; and

• The hiring of Kayla Thompson as a part-time dispatcher at a rate of $10 per hour.

The promotions of Hurt, Holton and Klem are effective March 13, while the hirings of Crawford, Williams, Smith and Thompson are effective March 19.

“I want to commend Chief Hiatt and all the police department,” Mayor Hal Marx said. “We brought in an outside interview board to interview for sergeant – we had three sergeant openings, and we’ve got one more still left to fill.

“I think each one of these officers is very deserving, a very good choice for these promotions, so I think they’ll do a good job. And I commend Chief Hiatt for taking the time to do this in a very professional, thoughtful way. He didn’t just come in and start naming people and making his own choices – he had this interview board do this job, and recommend to him, and then he chose the final candidates.”

The police department now has 26 full-time and 10 part-time sworn officers, and is expected to fill one more vacant spot in the near future.