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Malden makes plans to hire four police officers, one cadet

Posted by Matt Byrne  February 28, 2012 10:45 AM

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Mayor Gary Christenson plans to hire four new police officers and a cadet, including one street-level beat cop dedicated to the downtown area and the Malden Center T station.

The announcement was made at a ward crime meeting Monday night, said city spokeswoman Kathleen Manning Hall.

"He's heard it on the campaign trail loud and clear -- other than revitalization of the downtown and jobs -- he's heard public safety," Manning Hall said in a phone interview Tuesday. "People don't feel safe. It's a first step toward rebuilding the ranks."

The new officers could be patrolling by April 1, she said.

First, though, Christenson must request approval from the City Council to spend about $61,000 on the hires, which also include one police cadet. Manning Hall said Christenson could appear before the council as early as next week, but those plans were not firm.

The $61,000 would employ the five from April to the end of June, when a new budget year begins. Their full salaries would have to be built into the next budget year.

Manning Hall said the interim money will likely be drawn from cash set aside to pay the lease on the Maplewood Fire Station, which the city closed last April.

Malden Police spokesman Lieutenant Marc Gatcomb said cadets answer phones, route 911 calls, and take reports on minor incidents.

The move comes after a union dispute over healthcare benefits nearly forced the layoff of 10 officers in 2010, until the city cobbled together cash to keep them off the job. 

A year later, in March 2011, the city and union inked a three-year deal that solved the squabble, in which officers will pay slightly more of their healthcare costs in exchange for a 7 percent pay bump and $700,000 in education pay.

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