Two part-time officers hired to carry the load until hirings made

Mauricio Julian Cuellar Jr., Alice Echo-News Journal

An additional two part-time officers have been brought on this week by the Orange Grove Police Department to assist the two full-time officers in their law enforcement duties for the city of Orange Grove.

The department brought on former OGPD officer Javier Leal as a part-time officer this week.

Leal, who currently works in the oil industry, served as a police officer in the department several years ago, and was eager to return to patrol work part-time, Sr. Officer Daniel Jaramillo said.

Reserve officer Steve Roberson is also working with the department, as the city searches for a new full-time patrol officer and police chief.

Orange Grove Mayor Seale Brand said there is no official cut-off date for applications. He said it is important the applicants for the chief's position are certified TECLOSE, live in the community and submit to a thorough background check. As soon as the city receives applicants for the chief's position, the city council will narrow the list to possibly three or four interviewees upon which they will focus their attention, Brand said.

Jaramillo said the remaining two full-time officers have had to pick up the pace following the resignation of two police officers and the chief of police over the last three months.

"Things haven't changed. The only thing is that the full-time officers have had to step it up a bit and work a little extra. We've received assistance from Sheriff Oscar Lopez and the rest of the Sheriff's Department. Pct. 3 Constable Sonny Crisp has also assisted us, and we appreciate that," Jaramillo said.

Jaramillo said the crime rate in the last two weeks has stayed the same, and that there is always an officer out on patrol, serving the Orange Grove community.

An advertisement for the new positions went out last Sunday, and already, the department has received several inquires into the patrol officer and police chief positions.

Jaramillo couldn't specify how long the hiring process would take, since there are several procedures involved including interviews and background checks, to ensure they select the right officers for the community, Jaramillo said.