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Howland OKs hazard pay for police

Officers to get $1,000 each from CARES Act funding

HOWLAND — Township police officers will receive a one-time hazard pay of $1,000 each because of the situations they face daily in dealing with the public during the coronavirus pandemic.

Township trustees at their meeting on Wednesday approved the $1,000 per officer, which will come from the CARES Act funds the township has received.

Trustee chairman Matt Vansuch said officers are on the front line of the pandemic, dealing with all kinds of situations in the community and putting themselves at risk.

Police Chief Nick Roberts said three police officers have tested positive for COVID-19, so the department has had to take additional precautions.

“Two of the officers have come out of quarantine and are working the road again, and the third officer will finish up his quarantine this week. We are all wearing masks and sanitizing our equipment. Any time an officer is outside a vehicle they are required to have a mask on to help us hopefully cut down on these exposures,” Roberts said.

The department follows health department guidelines to keep officers and the public safe when they are out on the streets, he said.

Trustees said the department has 19 officers, including 12 patrolmen, three sergeants, two detectives and two school resource officers. There is also a chief and assistant chief.

Roberts said depending on the day and who is off sick, there could be two officers on the street or seven at any given time.

Also, trustees accepted the retirement of patrolman William Barna effective Dec. 1, with his last day being Nov. 30. Barna started with Bazetta police in 1995 and then was hired by Howland in 2002.

“Bill did an excellent job in our training programs and trained many other officers throughout the Mahoning Valley. When he was not spending time training, he was helping with getting security grants for buildings and churches,” Roberts said.

Trustees said in the future, when the pandemic situation improves, they will recognize Barna and other retirements this year from various departments in the township.

“We have not been able to do this because of the coronavirus,” Trustee Jim LaPolla said.

bcoupland@tribtoday.com

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