HOPE MILLS - When Stephen Dollinger was sworn in as Hope Mills police chief in January, he said one of his first priorities would be to add officers to the department.
On Monday, Dollinger said he has fulfilled that promise.
The Hope Mills Police Department has 42 sworn officers and six civilian employees when fully staffed. When Dollinger came on board in January, it had 30 sworn officers, four personnel awaiting state certification and five civilian employees, Lt. Lee Summers, the department’s operations support commander, said at the time.
Dollinger said he now has 41 officers on staff, with two more who will be graduating from the police academy and waiting to be certified.
Town Manager Scott Meszaros said Tuesday this is the first time in several years the Police Department has been fully staffed.
In a time when recruiting officers can be difficult, Dollinger has found a way to bring on more personnel.
Before taking over as police chief in Hope Mills, Dollinger served as police chief for the Robeson County town of St. Pauls. He also worked in law enforcement in Middletown, New Jersey.
Dollinger said some of the new officers followed him from his previous agencies.
He said the new public safety building has also helped recruit some of the officers. Hope Mills is building a $15 million public safety building that is expected to be completed in August, Meszaros said. Hope Mills commissioners were told last month that the project was about 70% complete.
“Hope Mills is expanding expeditiously and the officers are excited about being on the ground floor and helping Hope Mills with their changes and moving the city forward,” Dollinger said.
Jason Canady covers Hope Mills for CityViewTODAY. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Have a news tip? Email news@CityViewTODAY.com.