Friday, December 16, 2005

Marshal's office nears full staff

Cost of living blamed for difficulty in retaining police

Express Staff Writer

Bellevue Mayor Jon Anderson, left, swears in Scott Osterhout as a city police officer. Express photo by Jason Kauffman

Bellevue Mayor Jon Anderson last week swore in Scott Osterhout as the city's second newly hired police officer in recent weeks. The ceremony took place at a City Council meeting on Thursday, Dec. 8.

Osterhout, who currently lives in Paul, recently completed the law enforcement program at the College of Southern Idaho in Twin Falls. He joins the city's other new recruit, Patrick Thueson, who was sworn in by the mayor on Nov. 21.

All new Bellevue police officers are required to go through at least 10 weeks of field training, Bellevue Marshal Tim Green said. However, "sometimes it takes longer," he said.

Learning a city's layout, the law enforcement issues it faces and other issues takes time, Green said. "Sometimes it's overwhelming."

In the coming weeks, the city's third new police officer is set to come on board, Green said. The officer, Garth David, of Ucon, Idaho, will bring the marshal's office to full staff, Green said.

Although the Bellevue City Council recently authorized a more competitive benefits package for its police officers, cost of living is still an issue that hampers the city's ability to hire and retain new officers, Green said.

Everyone with the marshal's office currently lives outside of the area, he said. "We're still trying to get everybody to live up in this area," Green said.

Green, who lives south of Jerome, said he hopes to move to Bellevue at some point soon. "I wish we could find a nice place to live here," he said. "It will work out one of these days."

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