Officials in the Howard County Police Department will dust off old stripes for some aspiring supervisors next month.
About 30 officers will be promoted to corporal, a rank the department abandoned more than a decade ago. The promotions will be made by mid-April, and the officers named to corporal will receive a 5 percent pay increase, said Chief James N. Robey.
The promotions will provide career advancement for aspiring supervisors, who will be called on to fill the gap when sergeants are sick, on vacation or in training, the chief said.
"The officers benefit, and the department benefits," he said. "And if we both benefit, the citizens benefit."
The chief said reinstituting the corporal rank may boost morale and job performance. It's not clear why the rank had been abandoned, he said.
The corporal rank, which was abandoned in 1980, is below the three-striped sergeant, but above the police officer first class (PFC).
The salary increase for the rank has been included in the department's budget.
The department planned to test 135 candidates for the positions using a 100-question multiple-choice exam.
The 60 people with the highest scores will go before a three-member board of outside police supervisors, who the department felt would be objective.
The officers with the highest combined overall performance on the test, an essay and an oral presentation to the board will be recommended for promotion.
Dale L. Hill, president of the police union, said the union has been trying for years to resurrect the rank and in bargaining last year brought it back. Three years ago, the union brought back the PFC rank in negotiations.
"I think it's way long overdue," Mr. Hill said. "We are pleased."
The corporal rank, Mr. Hill said, gives the Police Department an intermediate supervisory rank and gives officers incentives for their careers.