HOWLAND - Warren's loss is Howland's gain after two new police officers who were laid off recently were sworn in to the township police department.
Sean Stephens and Justin Soroka were laid off from the Warren City Police Department on Jan. 1 along with 18 other officers who were furloughed as part of millions of dollars in city budget cuts for the new year.
They didn't have far to go to find new work, however. They were sworn in as Howland officers on Jan. 28, township administrators said.
"Both of these officers are seasoned veterans from Warren. They're well-trained," said township Police Chief Paul Monroe.
The two officers are currently going through the township's training program, but will be put on patrol when they complete the program. Monroe commended the Warren Department's training for the two new officers.
"Learning (township) back roads, it can take years to pick up that data, but we don't have to teach them how to be police all over again," Monroe said.
The two new hires bring Howland's Police Department to 19. Monroe said the department still has one full-time vacancy it will fill, perhaps sometime in March.
"It's too early to say where that officer will come from. We're very fortunate. Our goal is to retain these officers permanently," the chief said.
In his state of the township letter, Trustee Rick Clark said he wanted all township departments to cut their budgets by 5 percent in 2009. Monroe said he planned on reducing fuel use and overtime, but otherwise didn't think the cuts would harm his ability to keep and hire new officers.
"We've been really careful (on spending) since they passed the police levy. We're in good shape even with the reduction," he said.
Warren Police Chief John Mandopoulos added that the two officers were SWAT trained, and he wished them luck.
"They have to get on with their lives and you know how lucky they were to find good employment here in this area," Mandopoulos said.
The Warren Chief said Howland may not have the financial problem's Warren does.
"They have an excellent department, a good chief and they're well-funded. It's not like Warren where you have to fight for every penny," Mandopoulos said.