INDIAN SHORES — The Town Council approved the hiring of two police officers and the promotion of a third to acting sergeant at its June 11 meeting, which Indian Shores Police Chief Rick Swann said helps his goal of rebuilding the department.

The Town Council approved moving Indian Shores Officer Scott Martin to acting sergeant at a salary of $48,252.75; the hiring of Officer Michael Hansen, retroactive to May 20, at a salary of $45, 955; and the hiring of Officer Ronnie Hadley with a tentative start date of June 24. He’ll make $45,955 a year.

Swann, whose department also serves nearby Redington Shores, was hired in March to replace former Police Chief Raimondo DeCunto, who resigned in January.

Swann, who served 27 years with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, said the new hires are much-needed.

“We’ve had some vacancies because a couple of people have resigned,” Swann said. Martin’s approval as acting sergeant on the force fills the position left open by Sgt. Matthew Patsch, who resigned recently, he said.

The new hires join at a time when Swann hopes to increase visibility of the department, with about 10 officers, in the neighborhoods it serves.

“I want to move the department to an appropriate structure for supervision, manpower-wise,” Swann said. “I want us where we are more visible, more interactive in the community. As our officers drive through neighborhoods, they like getting out and introducing themselves to residents and business owners.”

Swann, who also attends Redington Shores commission meetings, updates both town councils on monthly crime statistics, parking oversight, hurricane evacuation policies, and other local law enforcement issues. He invites his officers to attend both towns’ meetings to meet community members and answer questions.

The department also launched classes to educate the public on a variety of public safety topics. The classes are held in the Indian Shores Municipal Center, 19305 Gulf Blvd. The classes allow the department to “reach out and build a better bond with the residents of our two communities, Indian Shores and Redington Shores, and let them know we are here for them,” the department’s website states.

Swann oversees a police department budget of approximately $1.3 million, which covers law enforcement for both towns.

Condominium plan approved

In other business, the Indian Shores council approved the site plan for The Anchorage, a 21-unit condominium, with four levels of condos over parking. The property, at 20001 Gulf Blvd., has buildings designated office-commercial, but the site is OK for residential use, City Engineer Robert Brotherton told the council.

The $6 million project will not remove an existing dog park next door and will include docks on the Intracoastal Waterway, the plans show.

The property owner, Anchorage of Indian Shores, had agreed to reduce the height from five levels over parking to four, council member Mike Hackerson said.

The next step is for the project managers to obtain a building permit that meets town, county, state and federal specifications.

Scout to install book exchange boxes

Logan Beatty, an Eagle Scout candidate, showed off one of three bookstand lending libraries he built for installation around town. The waterproof boxes, complete with shingled roofs and glass fronts, allow the public to exchange books they’ve read with a book inside the box.

Beatty, 17, posed for photographs with council members behind one of the three boxes, which the council approved for installation at Tiki Gardens, a former Polynesian theme park at 19601 Gulf Blvd.; at 199th Street and Gulf Boulevard; and at an Indian Shores playground.

Beatty is a member of Troop 707 in Land O’Lakes but spends a lot of time here with family.

Council approves cost-of-living raise

The council also approved a 2% cost-of-living adjustment for non-union personnel in 2019-2020. Among the statistics the council noted was the Consumer Price Index, which rose 1.9% in 2018, smaller than the 2.1% increases in 2016 and 2017.