Canton PD looks for officers, new assistant chief
by Joshua Sharpe
jsharpe@cherokeetribune.com
March 14, 2013 12:00 AM | 2367 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Canton Police Department has begun a search to fill the vacant position of assistant police chief left open since last August when the former assistant chief, Todd Vande Zande, was fired.

The department also is looking to fill several other openings for officers.

Canton Police Chief Robert Merchant said Wednesday that he decided to wait to fill the position until he completed a stint at police academy to update his law-enforcement certifications, as he was transitioning to work in Georgia from Florida.

The assistant chief job will pay an annual salary of $74,000, according to the city’s website.

Merchant was hired in May 2012 to lead the Canton Police.

In August, Vande Zande was given the choice to resign, but when he did not, he was terminated.

At the time of his firing, Vande Zande alleged his termination was the result of his “refusal to violate state law and my oath of office when asked by City Manager Scott Wood to perform an illegal background check on an individual who publicly criticized Mr. Wood in an open meeting.”

Vande Zande later appealed his firing but that appeal was denied.

Six police officer positions have also come open in the past few months.

Merchant said his department hired three officers in November and has sent them to police academy in Austell.

“I think you get to open up your pool by agreeing to send people to police academy,” Merchant said of the decision to hire uncertified officers and send them to the academy. “It’s a good opportunity for someone who can’t afford to go to police academy.”

For the Canton Police Department, sending officers through police academy has no cost, Merchant said, as fees are covered by the state.

To fill the remaining three officer positions, Merchant said he plans to choose candidates from his pool of resumes, who have already completed police academy.
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