DALTON — Just weeks into his command of the Dalton Police Department, an interim chief pulled off a staffing change that eluded two previous chiefs.

Each shift will be led by a sergeant or acting sergeant.

Interim Chief Anthony Riello persuaded the Select Board to promote two corporals — Deanna Strout and Geoffrey Powell — into new jobs as acting sergeants after ticking off the duties that fall to the department's only sergeant, Christopher Furlong.

"You have to ask yourself: 'How can one guy do all this?' " said Riello, a former Pittsfield chief. "It's a matter of protecting the town."

The two new acting sergeants will ensure greater accountability within each shift, Riello said.

They began work Monday, with Strout on days, Furlong evenings and Powell overnight.

The move comes as a search committee reviews applications for a permanent chief, following the departure of Chief Jeffrey E. Coe in June. Coe and the town reached an agreement for him to leave with more than a year's pay amid a disciplinary hearing related to his leadership.

The board's Sept. 14 vote to add the sergeant posts was unanimous, with member Mark Strout abstaining because the change affects his spouse.

Riello told officials that both Coe and an earlier chief, John W. Bartels Jr., attempted to create the new positions but did not secure approval.

Robert W. Bishop Jr., the board's chairman, said the move can be revisited. "If it doesn't work, everything goes back to where it was," he said.

Joseph Diver, a current board member, said he believes the added cost foiled earlier attempts by police chiefs to revamp department's command structure.

Riello said the new positions will add $15 a day in cost. Because the town uses Civil Service hiring policies, the appointments are temporary, but will allow the department to strengthen oversight immediately, Riello said. Both are expected to apply for the jobs through Civil Service.

"Both of these officers are very capable," Riello said of Strout and Powell. Strout has worked for the department for more than two decades; Powell has put in roughly 15 years.

Riello said he visited police departments of similar size in Adams, Lee and Lenox and found that they use more sergeants than Dalton.

"It will help bring us to where we need to be," Riello told the board.

In other staffing moves, the town appointed Gregg Stefanik, an intermittent officer since 2007, as a permanent intermittent officer. Stefanik, who works full time at General Dynamics, serves as the department's firearms instructor.

Larry Parnass can be reached at lparnass@berkshireeagle.com, at @larryparnass on Twitter and 413-588-8341.