By Frank Lewis
For the first time in over five years, the Portsmouth Police Department is fully staffed. In the swearing-in ceremony held Monday on the front steps of the Portsmouth municipal building, officers Cory Hicks, Josh Linkous, Shane Hatfield and John Musholt took the oath of office to serve in the Portsmouth Police Department — bringing the total to 41, which is part of the 44 personnel total mandated by the City Charter.
At the ceremony, City Manager Derek K. Allen said he believes the highest priority and function of city government is public safety.
“I am proud that we have corrected the city’s financial deficiencies and at the same time have fully staffed our police and fire departments,” Allen said.
The addition of the new officers drew comments from Portsmouth Police Chief Robert Ware as well.
“It has been a long time coming to get back to full staffing levels. Not only is it important that we maintain the staffing levels as required by the City charter, but it’s even more imperative that we put forth every effort to maintain adequate staffing levels to meet the policing needs of our community,” Ware said. “Now, more than ever, we face security challenges like no other time in our history. Drug addiction, poverty, and the threat from terrorism have challenged our law enforcement to unprecedented levels. Public safety is vital if we are going to provide the quality of life our residents expect and make for a more inviting location for future business endeavors.”
Ware was quick to add that during shortages, his department continued to perform.
“Despite the low staffing levels, we have continued to work more efficiently and effectively to reduce violent crimes and property crimes in our community,” Ware said. “Having 41 officers will go a long way in continuing those successes as we work to improve the quality of life for our residents and visitors.”
Also in attendance were families of the new police officers, police department employees and City Solicitor John Haas.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.