Officers resigns, Chester to be down two police officers

CHESTER – Ten days after suspending one police officer, City Council on Monday accepted the resignation of another.

Officer Becky Haught’s resignation is effective on Friday, Chief Ken Thorn said. Her letter to council said her resignation was for personal reasons. She had been with the department for five years.

The resignation puts the police department’s current force strength at four: Thorn and Officers Dante DiJirolanio, Pete Bowen and Garrett Barnhart. Full strength is considered six officers.

Thorn said he immediately will begin the hiring process to fill the vacancy, which involves selecting the top three highest scorers from the civil service list. The civil service test last was administered on June 22. It expires on that date in 2015.

The three top candidates will be interviewed and one will be presented to council for hiring, Thorn said.

Meanwhile, the investigation into suspended Officer Eric Maruca continues.

Maruca, who joined the force in July, was put on paid administrative leave by council on Sept. 27 after he came under investigation for unspecified allegations.

Hancock County Sheriff Ralph Fletcher said his department began an investigation after receiving a complaint from a resident about Maruca. He said the case is not yet ready to go to Hancock County Prosecutor Jim Davis.

Fletcher said he brought the matter to Thorn’s attention a day after his department got the complaint.

Thorn said Maruca is being investigated for something not related to his duties as a police officer.

Also Monday, council:

Authorized the street department to install a gas line from the street department building to an exterior gas meter. The meter is being moved from the Chester Municipal Building basement to an outdoor location by Mountaineer Gas Co.

Street Supervisor Steve Shuman said he wants to switch the street department building from oil heat to gas heat for cost reasons.

Set trick-or-treat hours for 5 p.m to 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 31.

Declared this week as Fire Prevention Week.