LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The city of Middletown has two new employees who took the oath to serve and protect residents Tuesday night.

Officer Robert Herman and Chief Ed Blaser were sworn in as the first members of the city’s new police department, which started in May.

“I think it’s a big day that Middletown is stepping forward, taking a bite, if you would, to start the police department to provide that for our residents,” Middletown Mayor Bryon Chapman said.

Louisville city officials and LMPD Chief Steve Conrad attended the ceremony.

The LMPD Eighth Division will still patrol and respond to the Middletown area, but the addition of new officers will improve response time to incidents. 

“The real issue is more property crime than it is violent crime at this point," Blaser said. "Statistics show the Eighth Division is making a significant amount of runs here."

The creation of the department is due to the significant growth the area has seen over the years. The Middletown and Anchorage Fire Departments merged in March.

Ashley Puckett, who has worked in town for the last 12 years, said she's happy about the increased police presence.

“I think it’s just to make people feel safe and just to patrol the areas and just be visible," she said. "I think visibility is definitely something that helps."

The Jeffersontown Police Department donated two police cars to neighboring Middletown, a new department that will cost $250,000 a year to run and eventually have at least 20 officers.

Taxes will not be increased because of the city’s growth.

“The money that was being spent for the small cities grant for extra patrol will now go into Middletown Police," Blaser said. "The money is being re-diverted back into the city."

Blaser said he will be hiring three more officers in the next three weeks.  

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