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Republic Police, Fire Departments adding more staff thanks to tax

Published: Jun. 17, 2022 at 12:00 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 17, 2022 at 4:41 PM CDT
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REPUBLIC, Mo. (KY3) - A public safety sales tax passed by voters in Republic is leading to more hires for the police and fire departments.

The Republic Fire Department inducted six new probationary firefighters on Friday. Fire Chief Duane Compton said the city started collecting money in April. It should last for years. Chief Compton said the department plans on hiring at least six more firefighters and three battalion chiefs.

Michael McCully, a recruit, said he returned to the fire service after nearly ten years.

“The fire service changes all the time. I’ve got a lot of work to do to catch back up,” said McCully. “But it was great to have my family here to support and to continue to come and support me, to be here for me.”

McCully said he started as a firefighter.

“I had a 13-year career in it before I left the fire service, seven of that with Republic,” said McCully.

McCully said he is back now as his second family welcomed him back with open arms.

“It’s a brother and sisterhood,” said McCully. “It’s a relationship like you can’t describe it. Nobody understands unless you’ve been in it.”

McCully is one of 6 recruits coming to the fire department thanks to the Public Safety Sales Tax. Chief Compton said this tax helps them serve the growing community.

“Growth in our eyes is a good thing to have,” said Compton. “We’ve been stuck for years short-staffed. We couldn’t really take care of what we needed to do.”

Lt. Jamie Burks said the Republic Police Department is also reaping the benefits from the tax.

“Gives us this sense of, I don’t want to say relief, but at least we know that there is there’s additional help coming because our call volume is increasing every year,” said Burks.

Lt. Burks said the police department has already hired three officers and plans on hiring more this summer.

This is a familiar experience for McCully, but he said it hits different.

“I was born to be a firefighter,” said McCally. “It’s what I’ve always loved doing, and I’m so excited. I’m happy to be back into it and excited to finish my career out with it.”

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