By Janice Morse
The Cincinnati Enquirer
HAMILTON - Faced with the largest volume of 911 calls in Butler County, police here are adding 10 officers to the ranks.
With the new additions, expected to come on board in a few weeks, "We will have more officers on this department than we have had in my entire career," said Sgt. Thomas E. Kilgour, a 33-year veteran of the city force.
The department will reach 126 officers with the new additions - which Capt. Joseph Murray said is long overdue.
"Our (911) call load remains extremely high," he said. "With these new officers, we can be more service-oriented... we can spend more time on the calls."
Cincinnati Bell figures show Hamilton's 911 call center handled 135,339 calls between January and September - far outpacing Oxford, Middletown, West Chester Township, Fairfield and the Butler County Sheriff's Office. During most months, Hamilton's calls accounted for half the calls in the entire county, said Police Chief Neil Ferdelman.
Although not every call required an officer to be dispatched - and some incidents include multiple phone calls - the number of calls does provide an indication of how busy the department is, and how much the department needs the additional officers, Murray said.
Nine of the 10 new hires are being funded with money from a levy that voters approved last year; one will fill a vacancy.
Hiring new officers "is probably the most important thing we do," Ferdelman said. "We're very selective."
Applicants must undergo a background check, drug screening and physical examinations before they are hired. Then they must complete a four-month police academy training program.
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