Lehighton has promoted a part-time police officer to full-time status.

At a special meeting on Friday, borough council, on a 5-0 vote, hired Gabe Szozda, effective immediately, as a full-time patrol officer as per the Police Collective Bargaining Agreement and Lehighton Borough Civil Service Rules and Regulations.

Councilman Scott Rehrig, Darryl Arner, John Kreitz, Helen Torok, and council President Grant Hunsicker voted in favor. Councilman Joel Flickinger and Councilwoman Bessie Bauchspies were absent.

Borough Manager Nicole Beckett said Szozda, who has been a part-time officer in the borough since 2011, will start at .75-percent of the base salary of the borough's full-time officers.

"As per the contract the base salary for an entry level police officer is set at 75-percent of the current full time base salary," Beckett said. "The percentage increase is based on years of service."

Police Chief Brian Biechy said that with the hiring of Szozda, the police department now has nine full-time officers and three part-time officers.

In a related matter, council agreed to pay Biechy an additional $2,000 to serve as evidence custodian.

The move translates to an extra 96 cents per hour on top of his current salary.