BY ART BUKOWSKI
TRAVERSE CITY — Traverse City's first police hire in eight years will double the number of female officers in the department.
Troy native Cristina Collesano recently hired on as a patrol officer. She'll be one of two female officers in the 28-officer department, and the first officer hired since 2005, Chief Mike Warren said.
Collesano spent five years in the U.S. Navy, where she served as a military police officer and K-9 handler. She was selected from an initial pool of more than 100 applicants.
"We're very glad to have attracted that caliber of a candidate," Warren said of Collesano. "We're looking forward to what the next few years will bring."
The department has steadily shrunk in the past decade as budget cuts forced administrators to not replace retiring or departing officers.
Collesano said she's excited to work in Traverse City. She considered working in several areas around the state, but heard nothing but good things about the Grand Traverse region.
"The quality of life really narrowed it down for me," she said.
The department also changed around its command staff in the wake of former patrol Capt. Steve Morgan's retirement. Morgan now serves as Leelanau County's undersheriff under new Sheriff Mike Borkovich.
Capt. Brian Heffner, who's been with the department for nearly 25 years and recently headed the detective bureau, now serves in Morgan's old role as patrol captain. Mike Ayling, who's been with the department 20 years, was promoted from administrative sergeant to captain of the detective division.