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Valley News Dispatch

Arnold hires former Tarentum police officer

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Tom Yerace | For the Tribune-Review
Arnold Mayor Karen Peconi swears in Ryan Hanford as Arnold’s newest police officer on Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019.
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Tom Yerace | For the Tribune-Review
Ryan Hanford

Retirement didn’t last long for Ryan Hanford.

Arnold hired Hanford as a police officer less than a week after he retired from Tarentum’s police department.

Hanford, 44, has been a police officer for 25 years, 22 of them serving on Tarentum’s force.

His retirement was approved by Tarentum council on Feb. 7 and was effective that day. Prior to resigning, he had been on administrative leave for the previous two months due to the illness of a loved one. He retired with the rank of sergeant.

With his hiring, Arnold Police Chief Eric Doutt said the force is back up to eight fulltime officers after dealing with several departures over the past two years.

Hanford was present at Tuesday’s council meeting and was sworn in by Mayor Karen Peconi afterward. He was asked about his departure from Tarentum, the circumstances of which are vague under the separation agreement between him and Tarentum officials.

“It was just time to move on,” Hanford said, repeating what he told the Tribune-Review last week.

“I’m looking forward to bringing my 25 years of experience to the City of Arnold and serving the residents,” he said.

A resident of Brackenridge, Hanford was asked why he chose to apply for a position on the Arnold force when many police chiefs would love to have an officer with his experience. That includes time working on the state attorney general’s drug task force.

“I’ve done a lot of drug work here for three years,” he said. “I like it here.”

Doutt, a policeman for 29 years, said he has known his newest hire since Hanford became an officer at the age of 19.

“He’s come over here to back us up on occasion and I’ve gone over there to give them back-up when I was a K-9 officer,” Doutt said, also mentioning Hanford’s work in Arnold with the drug task force.

“I’d take 10 of him,” Doutt said. “He’s a good cop.”

The move comes at a financial cost to Hanford. Despite his experience, he will follow the normal salary progression under Arnold’s police contract, starting at 60 percent of a veteran officer’s salary which is about $36,000 according to City Clerk Mario Bellavia.

He will receive annual increases over the next four years that will raise his salary to the five-year veteran’s rate of $60,000.

As a Tarentum officer with the rank of sergeant, he was earning $72,000.

Tom Yerace is a freelance writer.