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Hagerstown Police move some officers to patrol shifts temporarily due to recent retirements

July 12, 2013

Three recent retirements have forced the Hagerstown Police Department to move some officers off bicycle and foot patrols in the downtown area to cover mandatory patrol shifts throughout the city, according to city police.

Police Lt. Paul Kifer said several officers who were dedicated to the force’s downtown substation have been moved temporarily into vehicle patrol positions. The department is working to fill the downtown jobs, he said.

“It’s just a temporary manpower issue,” Kifer said at police headquarters earlier this week. “... All police departments go through this. Just right now, it’s our time.”

The department currently has at least seven potential officers training in the police academy, Kifer said. It is looking to hire more officers through a comparative compliance program for out-of-area candidates with law-enforcement training, he said.

Although he could not provide a definite timetable for restoring the positions, Kifer said a contingency plan has been put in place to maintain a police presence in downtown Hagerstown.

Sgt. Eric Knode and the city’s auxiliary police force are still staffing the substation, which is at the University System of Maryland at Hagerstown on West Washington Street, Kifer said. Some other officers might put in some time there as well, he said.

“We’re not letting go of the downtown station,” Kifer said.

The three retirees had 25 to 30 or more years experience, according to Kifer, who said they included a K-9 officer, a warrant service officer and a department sergeant.

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— C.J. Lovelace

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