WARREN - The city is looking to expand its police department in the next several weeks.
Warren police Chief Timothy Bowers said he interviewed seven individuals on Thursday, and depending on whether those individuals are hired, he could be interviewing more.
"We're hoping to fill some spots as soon as possible," Bowers said.
Earlier this month, Bowers said he would like to hire more officers in the next several weeks, though he doesn't know whether the city will be able to operate at full force any time soon.
Several years ago the city police department was cut by at least 20 percent, operating with 61 officers - down from 85 - and its numbers have steadily declined with the loss of manpower through attrition, and the recent loss of two longtime officers who were terminated.
"It would be great to operate at full force again," Bowers said. "Whether that's likely, I don't know. It just depends on the administration. They give me a certain amount of money to run the police department on and I operate a budget based on that."
Candidates interviewed on Thursday still have to undergo background checks and polygraphs, Enzo Cantalamessa, Warren's safety-service director, said.
Cantalamessa said the city's budget permits the hiring of 13 officers, and he would like to see the force at 65, "from the chief on down. The number we hire will depend on how many we lose this year. We will be adding as few as four.
"We may have some falling off, two for certain including the chief and one captain and possibly others," he said.
He said several individuals are still on the city's eligibility list, which expires in November.
He said tests for the positions of chief and captain will be held later this month and there may be a sergeant's test in March.
"To the extent we find the right candidates with these interviews, great," he said. "If not, we'll keep going."