A former Rockland police officer will return to the force next week after a nine-year absence.

Joseph Bates has been hired and will begin work Monday, Jan. 25, said City Manager Rosemary Kulow.

The vacancy was created when two officers were promoted late last year to sergeant positions. The promotions of Matthew Lindahl and Anthony Camporiale occurred when Sgts. Daniel Brown and Jeffrey McLaughlin retired from the city department. Brown went to the Rockport Police Department and McLaughlin serves as an animal control officer.

Bates served as an officer in Rockland from 1989 until February 2001, when he resigned to become a state game warden. Bates started with the Rockland Police Department as the downtown traffic officer. Before beginning with the Rockland department in 1989 he was a guard at the Knox County Jail.

In other city personnel news, Kulow said wastewater treatment plant employee Kevin Murphy recently received state certification as a grade 5 wastewater treatment plant operator.