Cliff Cason, Dalton's police chief, introduced three new officers during Tuesday's meeting of the Dalton Public Safety Commission.
They graduated the police academy roughly six months ago, and they're approximately halfway through their field training, which includes riding along with and being evaluated by mentor officers, Cason said. "They can go solo in seven or eight weeks."
Nicholas Hill, 22, who graduated from Dalton State College in May 2019, was a manager at Food City for more than four years, Cason said. "We're really happy to have him with us."
Leslie O'Neal, 38, served in law enforcement in Arizona, both in Somerton and Yuma, and he has military experience, Cason said. O'Neal was in the United States Marine Corps prior to a stint in the Arizona Air National Guard.
Jacqueline Perez, 26, is a graduate of Southeast Whitfield High School, and she has a business administration degree from Georgia State University, Cason said. She spent three years in Fulton County Schools before joining Dalton's police department as a records technician, but she's since shifted to a sworn officer's position.
"We're happy to welcome (them), and we appreciate (them) becoming a real part of our department," William Weaver, chairman of the Public Safety Commission, said as the commission formally confirmed the officers. Bringing new officers in front of the Public Safety Commission allows the officers to see there are "some real human beings" behind the commission.
"We like for you to see us, and we like to get to see you," Weaver added. "Sometimes we find out some interesting facts about you."
Also during the meeting, the commission approved a pair of alcohol applications and will forward those on to the City Council for approval. One is for the Creative Arts Guild Community Support Corp. for pouring beer and wine, while the other is for Tenoch LLC for pouring beer, liquor and wine.
"We all understand the laws and are ready to follow them," said Amanda Brown, executive director of the Creative Arts Guild. For example, "We do ID at all events" to prevent underage drinking.
The commission also approved three capital purchases for the Dalton Fire Department, a mid-size sports utility vehicle (SUV) for $29,693, a full-size SUV for $39,556, and a three-quarter-ton pickup truck for $40,459. All three are from Ford of Dalton, and all three were the lowest bids that met all specifications.
The commission approved a policy change for the fire department that will make it easier for the department to re-hire former employees who resigned. The policy won't apply to employees who were terminated, and individuals will have to maintain their certifications while away from the fire department, said Todd Pangle, Dalton's fire chief. As the pool of qualified applicants continues to grow more "shallow," this revision will remove one obstacle from the department's attempts to remain fully staffed with quality employees.