The Salem City Council approved a measure Jan. 26 to pay partial salaries to two part-time reserve police officers after Salem Police officer Denny Bost resigned.
Reserve police officers Heath Everett and David Keck will receive a $600 salary each month until a replacement for Bost is found.
"This is probably the best option for the city right now," Salem Police Chief Al Roork said. "It looks like we're going to have to hire someone to replace Denny."
Roork said Bost has taken a position as a police trainer and consultant for Iraqi police recruits in Iraq.
"Unless he fails his physical, he'll be gone within the next couple of weeks." Roork said.
Bost will serve one year in Iraq as a trainer. He has been in Virginia for the last several weeks training for his new job.
Everett and Keck, who have been reserves on the force for the last eight months, have been covering shifts at the Salem Police Department in Bost's absence.
Health insurance and retirement benefits will not be offered to Everett and Keck.
Roork said finding a replacement for Bost will be difficult.
"It costs a lot to train a new officer, and finding officers that are already trained is hard," Roork said. "And I would prefer to have an officer with some experience."
He said Bost, who has served on the Salem police force for 12 years, was an excellent officer with a good work record.
The council unanimously agreed pay a trained officer $21,000 per year and an untrained officer $19,000 per year at Roork's request.
Salem Mayor Gary Clayton said officers in other area police departments are paid slightly less when hired, but the city needs to add a financial incentive to acquire a qualified officer.
Candidates for the police officer's job are expected to be presented at the February city council meeting.
Roork said he would present candidates to the council who were qualified or had skills that would be conducive to police work.The city council agreed to let Roork determine which candidates will be interviewed at the February meeting.
Roork said that cooperation between the Salem Police Department and the Fulton County Sheriff's Office has been excellent since new Fulton County Sheriff Walter Dillinger took office.
"Walter is doing an excellent job," Roork said. "Cooperation between the sheriff's office and us has been fantastic."
Dillinger replaced the retiring Lloyd Martz in January.
The city council, including new Alderman Richard Frazier, unanimously approved an ordinance to change the reconnect charge for delinquent water and sewer accounts.
The new ordinance stipulates that a resident who has his water or sewer shut off due to delinquent payments must repay that amount and a $25 service charge. The resident will also be required to pay a $20 charge on any returned checks.