City fills two police department vacancies

Friday, February 20, 2015

After saying goodbye to two long-serving veteran police officers recently, the City of Greencastle now says hello to a pair of rookies.

In a unanimous vote, the Greencastle Board of Works has approved the hiring of Joshua Smith, 32, Greencastle, and Brad Hiatt, 35, Indianapolis, for the positions recently vacated by the retiring Capt. Mike Hanlon and Sgt. Terry Eastham.

Approved by the Greencastle Board of Public Works and Safety to fill the two vacancies in the Greencastle City Police Department are Brad Hiatt (left) and Joshua Smith (right), being congratulated at City Hall by City Police Chief Tom Sutherlin. Hiatt and Smith fill the vacancies created by the recent retirements of Capt. Mike Hanlon and Sgt. Terry Eastham.

Smith and Hiatt were also the unanimous recommendations of the GPD Board of Works, Police Chief Tom Sutherlin noted in presenting their candidacy to the Board of Works at it February meeting this week.

Board member Thom Morris, who made the motion to accept the recommendation to hire Smith and Hiatt, praised their poise in the interview process.

"They both did very well," Morris said. "They were very honest."

The process to fill the two positions started with 21 applicants, Chief Sutherlin told the Banner Graphic.

Eighteen of those applicants showed up for the written exam and agility testing, the chief said, but only five prospects made it out of that round for further consideration.

While neither Smith nor Hiatt has had any actual police experience, each possesses qualities that should serve the department well, Sutherlin suggested.

Smith, a 2001 Greencastle High School graduate, is an eight-year U.S. Marine Corps veteran, who served three tours of duty combined in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Smith, who had been working as a pipefitter and plumber since leaving the Marine Corps in 2013, grew up in the local community and expressed a desire to be a public servant in his hometown, Sutherlin said.

Meanwhile, Hiatt grew up in Indianapolis and graduated from Indiana Tech with a bachelor of science degree in business administration. He has been employed at GENCO Logistics in Plainfield since 2003 as an operations supervisor.

Chief Sutherlin characterized Hiatt's desire to be a police officer and public servant as "his leaning, his calling."

With Hiatt now 35 years old, "he has to do it now or never do it," Sutherlin said, alluding to a need to qualify for the Public Employee Retirement Fund (PERF) as required by one's 36th birthday.

Hiatt has been so passionate about becoming a police officer, Sutherlin said, that he has been working out four or five days a week getting into the best shape of his life. The chief said Hiatt has lost 65 pounds over the past year and has been soaking up police knowledge by riding with an officer friend in Marion County.

The Board of Works had previously approved Brian Helmer as the successor to Capt. Hanlon back in November. However, a change in his wife's out-of-county employment kept Helmer from accepting the position with GPD, Sutherlin said.

Greencastle City Police and the Board of Works will go through the hiring process again in a couple of months as another longtime office, Albert Epple, is scheduled to retire in May.

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