Gareth L. Monroe, right, is sworn in as a WPD probationary patrolman on Friday, Jan. 1.

It took several months of attempts during a global COVID-19 pandemic, but the Wabash Police Department (WPD) has finally filled the open probationary patrolman position.

On Friday, Jan. 1, WPD public information officer Matt A. Benson said Gareth L. Monroe was sworn in as a WPD probationary patrolman.

Benson said Mayor Scott Long swore in Monroe at the WPD headquarters.

On Thursday, Long’s assistant Bev Vanderpool said Monroe would be officially sworn in during the next Wabash City Council meeting, which is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 11. The meeting will be held over Zoom, and the Meeting ID is 841 063 6815 and the password is 46992.

Benson said Monroe was born, raised and currently resides in Wabash.

Monore graduated from Wabash High School in 2011.

“Gareth is slated to complete his initial 40-hour pre-basic course to obtain Indiana arrest powers in the next two weeks and will be required to attend the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy during his first year,” said Benson.

From June to July 2020, the WPD began accepting applications for the probationary police officer position.

However, that wasn’t the WPD’s first try at hiring for the job.

Benson said their original attempt to fill the position was disrupted due to the current pandemic.

“This opening is from another officer (who) resigned several months ago. However, we had to postpone the hiring process due to COVID-19,” stated Benson.

The benefits package includes a probationary salary of $49,319; career progression incentive pay for longevity and promotional opportunities through the rank structure; a take-home car after two years residing within the Wabash city limits; comprehensive medical, dental and eye insurance; life insurance; and paid vacation and sick leave.

Under Indiana Code 36-8-4-7, a person may not be appointed as a member of the WPD after the person has reached 36 years of age. Under Indiana Code 36-1-20.2 regarding nepotism, a person may not be appointed as a member of the WPD who is related to any officer of the department. Candidates must meet the residency requirements of Indiana Code 36-8-4-2.

Rob Burgess, Wabash Plain Dealer editor, may be reached by email at rburgess@wabashplain