It's a full house at the city of Corry Police Department, 20 E. South St., as it recently welcomed three new officers and brought the force to full capacity.
Ptlm. Zachery Buell, of Erie; Ptlm. Ryan Pelkowski, of Erie; and Ptlm. Branden Eddy, of Millcreek, were sworn in by Mayor Dave Mitchell on May 4, and two of them began work with the department this week.
Buell, who was hired as a full-time officer at a yearly salary of $50,269, began work on Sunday, while Ptlm. Eddy's first shift was on Tuesday.
Eddy and Pelkowski were hired for part-time patrol at an hourly rate of $18.50.
Pelkowski's first day is still to be determined, said Police Chief Michael Cherry Jr.
Cherry noted the department has budgeted for eight full-time officers and two part-time officers in 2021, so the hiring of these individuals brought the number of current patrolmen to its full complement.
The new officers were hired to fill vacancies left by two retirements earlier this year, those of of Tommie Beebe and Gary Doolittle.
Buell is originally from Corry, but moved to Middletown, Pennsylvania, while his mother, District Judge Denise Buell, was attending law school. Buell graduated from high school there in 2013.
Following high school, he began his undergraduate career at the University of Pittsburgh but later transferred to Gannon University. In 2018, he earned a bachelor's degree in sports and exercise science, and in 2019 he earned his master's degree in the same field.
Buell is currently working on a PhD in health and human performance through Concordia University of Chicago. He is scheduled to graduate from the program in 2022.
Before becoming a police officer, Buell said he worked for LECOM and Erie Insurance, losing both jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Because his father was a state trooper, police work had always been in the back of Buell's mind, so he attended the police academy in North East, graduated with honors and applied for the vacancy in Corry.
Buell and his wife are currently closing on their house in Erie and looking forward to relocating to Corry.
"I'm excited to be back in Corry," Buell said. "It's going to be a great place to start a family and start a new career."
Police work is not Buell's only goal, however. He hopes to eventually add a position as a part-time professor to his work with the department.
"We'll see where life takes me in the next couple years," Buell said, adding that when he retires one day, he plans to gradually ease out of police work and into more teaching.
Ptlm. Eddy graduated from the police academy in August 2020. He noted he's wanted to be a police officer for a while.
"A career in law enforcement was always of interest to me," he said.
Eddy attended McDowell Senior High School in Erie before moving on to Gannon University, where he majored in criminal justice.
Straight out of the academy, Eddy spent a short time working as a security officer for LECOM before being hired by the police department.
"Local departments appealed to me more," Eddy said.
He went on to mention he would like to relocate closer to Corry if possible.
"The commute isn't too bad, but I would definitely like to be closer to the department," Eddy said.
Eddy also commented he is looking forward to gaining experience and time on the road, along with getting to know other members of the department.
Doing a good job is important to him.
"I would like to put forth every effort and do my best to make sure I am doing what I was hired for," he said.
The Journal was unable to interview Pelkowski before press time today.
Cherry said he is glad to have these men join the team.
"They're all young in age and extremely motivated to start the job," Cherry said. "We're just excited to get some new faces in."
He added there are benefits to having new ideas in what he feels is an evolving department.