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LPD introduces three new officers

The Lima Police Department has some much-needed help on the way.

Lima Police Chief Kevin Martin announced on Wednesday that three new officers are being added to the patrol force. Officers Bryce Bedwell, Samuel Kerber and Heather Buell were all introduced as the newest members of LPD. All three of them graduated from the Rhodes State Police Academy on August 14.

“We’ve got a fairly varied level of experience both educationally and in terms of work experience,” Chief Martin said about his newest officers. “There was a little bit of lag (after graduation) before they were able to take their state peace officer certification exam, but earlier this month, I’m happy to say that all three of them took the exam and passed with flying colors.”

The additions to the force come at a time when law enforcement agencies across the country are struggling to fill positions, and LPD has been no exception. Chief Martin said that the additions put the department on the right track to being fully staffed once again.

“With the three officers that we introduced today and the three additional officers we have currently attending the police academy elsewhere, that actually still leaves us seven positions short,” he said. “We have received another eligibility list from the Civil Service Board and we’re in the process of working on those backgrounds and getting that process completed. My hope is that by year’s end we can have all of our vacant positions filled.”

Once the new officers complete their general training, they will start a 20-week training program on the force, riding along with more experienced officers before going out on their own. All three officers expressed their excitement to serve the Lima community.

“This is where I grew up, and the community I grew up in, I just feel that I have a deeper connection to help make it safer,” Officer Buell said. “So just to kind of show and be a role model and give support. I think the biggest thing in success is support. I don’t think our job is just policing, it’s a wide variety, so just to be able to be a good representation of that in my hometown.”