With the latest resignation of a Corry City Police officer, Chief Rich Shopene now finds himself with a department down to seven full-time officers, which, a mere two months ago, had 10.
The resignation of officer Charles R. McGuire Jr., effective Thursday, comes on the heels of Cpl. Brian Arnink and Lt. Gary Hunt retiring earlier this month after more than 20 years of service each.
McGuire, of Corry, will be going to work for Pennsylvania Probation and Parole Board and cited a schedule better suited for him to spend more regular time with his family as the reason for his resignation.
“Scheduling was my big concern,” said McGuire who’s married with three children.
Shopene said he understands.
“Officer McGuire is doing what is best for his family and we wish him all the best in his career. We thank him for his service,” Shopene said.
The remaining officers are now working 24/7 straight shifts, two officers per shift, with no days off. Shopene has been working since March 16 with no time off.
At a March 16 Corry City Council meeting, members approved the police department going up to eight full-time officers and two part time.
Shopene said conducting interviews during a time of required social distancing amid the spread of the coronavirus is not something he wants to do.
“With three members of an interview team and one applicant all together, there’s no way to do a face-to-face interview right now,” he said. “I wouldn’t want to hire someone if I can’t meet them in person and see how they interact with the team.”
In the meantime, there are about eight applications, Shopene said, and he can at least begin other hiring processes on them, such as background checks. And perhaps with more time passing, more applications will come in for him to choose from; for now, interviews will have to wait.
He and the remaining officers, Shopene said, are coping with the stress of being understaffed and with the recent order by County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper and Gov. Wolf to stay at home, a measure for which he said they were given zero guidance from the county or state in terms of enforcement.
He said they were notified of the stay at home order without warning.
“In my wildest dreams I never thought I’d be making these kinds of contingency plans,” Shopene said.
He said he’s disinfecting the station regularly and stocking up on hand sanitizer for the officers and for the area still open to the public at the station where an information desk is now being manned 24/7, with help from Public Works Department employees, to answer questions and help keep residents informed.
“I want to thank the citizens of Corry for their cooperation during this time,” Shopene said. “If we can all just keep up with the rules and stay home with family, hopefully we can keep this virus at bay and out of our community.”