MOUNT VERNON — The Mount Vernon Police Department will come back up to full staffing with the addition of three new officers, sworn in by Mayor Richard Mavis in a brief ceremony at the police department Friday.
Before a nearly full house of relatives, friends and colleagues, Paige Wilt, James Coffey and Austin Johnston were sworn in as the city’s newest officers.
However, only two will be on the streets immediately. Wilt and Coffey will start work with their training officers Sunday and Monday, but Johnston will be heading first to the Police Academy to complete that program.
Wilt, 21, a 2015 graduate of Mount Vernon High School, graduated from Ohio State University with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice with concentrations in substance awareness and addiction. She completed academy training this spring.
“I’m looking forward to getting started and using what I learned in school and the academy, and learning from the older officers,” she said.
James Coffey, 31, is a 2006 graduate of Mount Vernon High School, and spent seven years in the Air Force working in the security forces.
“I knew right out of high school I wanted to be a police officer, and my first choice was to come back to Mount Vernon,” Coffey said.
He has been working as a part-time deputy in Ashland County and lives in Centerburg.
Johnston, 24, is a graduate of Hilliard High School and attended Wilmington College majoring in criminal justice. He has been working as a security officer.
“I knew out of high school I wanted to try to become a police officer. I’m looking forward to starting at the academy, although I don’t really know what to expect,” Johnston said.
Police Chief Roger Monroe called it a “great day when you get to bring new officers into the fold. I’m excited.”
He called the three new officers a “great group” and “really good people.”
Two of the officers hired were to fill vacancies in the department, and one was hired as a result of the city’s pledge to add an officer to concentrate on rug enforcement efforts if the income tax increase passed last November.
Monroe with a full staff now, his first task will be to fill a vacancy in the Detective Bureau, then he will even out the shifts and decide how to allocate personnel to various duties, including drug enforcement.