Council OKs hiring of one officer in Shepherdsville

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By Thomas Barr

      SHEPHERDSVILLE - It's not perfect but it will be better.

     Shepherdsville city leaders approved the hiring of an additional police officer due to concerns over the lack of manpower on some shifts.

     While speaking to the Shepherdsville City Council, chief Doug Puckett knew he only had two officers on duty to cover the entire town. That is not a situation which makes him feel comfortable for either his officers or for the residents.

     "It's very dangerous to have one officer on duty at night," Puckett said of a situation that has occurred in the past.

     The department was budgeted for 21 officers and the action last week increases that to 22.

     In his budget, Puckett had proposed hiring several seasonal officers, who would work full-time for nine months and part-time for three months. Benefits would not be required for these positions.

     However, with concerns over the financial situation, that recommendation was not approved.

     Currently, Puckett said there are four less officers in the department than two years ago.

     He is hoping to hire two more officers. One would be to replace Brett Dawson, who recently retired, and the other would fill the new position.

     Puckett was confident that those positions could be filled quickly.

     He still has another officer who is attending the police academy and would not be available until February for regular duty.

     "There is no doubt they need some help," said councilman Don Cundiff.

     The only vote against the measure came from councilman Larry Hatfield, who said he was concerned whether the city had the money to hire the additional officer.

     Puckett said that although the department may have 22 officers, there are circumstances that take people away from patrolling, such as training, illness and vacations.