By Bill Robinson
The Richmond City Commission voted to hire two police officer candidates Tuesday night, and dismissed another officer.
Zachary David Stokes and Carl Brandon Roark were hired and are expected to enter the Kentucky Department of Criminal Justice Training’s police academy in January, said Police Chief Larry Brock.
Also during Tuesday’s regular meeting, the commissioners voted to terminate the employment of another officer, Jason Spalding, who had been on the force for about five years. The commission conducted a closed hearing to consider administrative charges against Spalding. The reason for his dismissal was not disclosed.
Earlier this year, Spalding shared a departmental lifesaving award with Cpl. Jason Adkins. The two were credited with using CPR in October 2011 to revive a woman who had stopped breathing as the result of a seizure.
In June 2008, Spalding fatally shot Richard L. Henderson, 44, after he had reportedly stabbed his mother and sister, then advanced toward the officer with a large military-style knife, refusing to halt and drop the weapon as ordered. A Madison County grand jury ruled Spalding’s actions in that incident were justified.
According to past Richmond Register stories, Spalding had served four years with the Eastern Kentucky University Police Department before joining RPD.
The police department currently has five cadets in the police academy, the chief said, and three of them are due to graduate next week. Two others have already been approved to enter the academy in November. If the five in the academy and the four approved to enter all complete their training, the department will have 57 officers, Brock said. The department’s budgeted strength is 60.
After officers graduate from the academy, they must successfully accompany other officers on “ride alongs” for 18 weeks before fully joining the force, the chief said. The new cadets will begin earning $16.41 an hour when they enter the academy, according to their hiring order.
The commission promoted three members of the fire department to captain and two others to lieutenant. One fire fighter’s resignation also was accepted.
Greg Farthing, Sam Kirby and Richard Tate were promoted to captain, a position that pays $12.53 an hour.
Dave Bletscher, at $11.63 an hour, and Patrick Tudor, at $11.75 an hour, were both promoted to lieutenant.
The resignation of Timothy S. Buchenroth from the fire department was accepted. Fire Chief Buzzy Campbell said the firefighter had obtained a position with the Lexington Fire Department.
His departure leaves the department with 62 firefighters, two fewer than the goal of 64 anticipated in the city’s 2012-13 budget.
Personnel actions dominated the commission’s Tuesday agenda.
Tracy Bryant was hired as a desktop support person in the information technology department at a salary of $40,000.
Betsy Lynn Milburn was hired as the city’s community development director at a salary of $28,000.
The retirement of Carolyn Jennings from the Richmond-Madison County Recycling Center after 14 years of employment was accepted. Most members of the commission and many city employees attended a farewell cookout luncheon for Jennings earlier in the day.
When her retirement was accepted, City Commissioner Robert Blythe said Jennings’ cheerful attitude and enthusiastic promotion of recycling had made her “the face of recycling” in Richmond. City Attorney Garrett Fowles called her “a treasure.”
Aaron A. Cantrell was hired as an environmental technician for the recycling center at $8 an hour.
The resignation of Jason McCoy from the planning department was accepted. City Manager Jimmy Howard said McCoy was leaving for a position with a private employer.
The resignation of Joni Fields from the Architecture Review Board was accepted. Her changing work schedule would not allow her to continue service, Fields stated in her resignation letter.
See Friday’s Richmond Register for more about the city commission meeting, including public comments.