Chester adds 8 to police force - just in time

Today the city of Chester will welcome eight new officers to the police force.

They can't get here soon enough.

Last night an officer investigating a report of shots fired found himself dodging bullets. Luckily, the officer was not injured.

The incident occurred in the 900 block of Clover Lane just before 11 p.m. The officer was pursuing three suspects when he reported shots were fired at him, according to police radio reports. The officer returned fire. It's not known if any of the suspects was hit.

Police took one suspect into custody and recovered a weapon.

This morning at the 10 a.m. City Council session, eight new police recruits from the Philadelphia Police Academy will be sworn in as members of the Chester Police Force.

Staffing has been an issue for Chester police, with a string of retirements at the end of the year leaving the city force below its full complement of officers.

In addition to the new recruits, two city patrolmen will be promoted to detective.

"Our job is to protect our citizens and hire individuals who embody traits that are reflective of our duties and purpose as officers," said Police Commissioner Otis Blair.

The city has for years struggled with the issue of random gunfire on its streets. So far in 2017, the county has recorded five homicides. All of them have taken place in Chester.