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Police seek to add officer

Andy Ouriel • Apr 14, 2014 at 6:14 PM

A Perkins police levy approved at the polls a year ago is finally paying off in huge dividends.

New money from a five-year levy, kicking in this year, spurred officials to recently hire one new, additional full-time cop.

Township votes to increase part-time officer pay

The department’s fulltime staffing roster now totals 19.  An average officer’s yearly salary hovers around $45,000.

But Perkins police Chief Ken Klamar still wants to add at least one more full-time officer in hopes of fully replenishing staffing levels from what his department boasted almost 15 months ago.

Several financial factors, including receiving less money from state coffers, forced township trustees to eliminate four full-time police positions in early 2013.

The eliminations included laying off three full-time officers previously occupying these spots and scrapping one vacated position.

Two of these four positions were recalled later on in 2013. For the past few months, the township has operated with 18 full-time officers.

To neutralize the staffing shortages, township officials and police commanders charged forward with a levy solely supporting police operations.

The plan worked: By more than a 2-to-1 margin, Perkins Township residents in May supported the levy, creating about $1.9 million a year from 2014 through 2018. Other than police levy money, the department’s not using any other local taxpayer funds for police operations.

Had a majority of voters rejected the issue, the township would’ve been forced to further cut staffing levels or disband police operations altogether.

Many residents voted for the levy, among other reasons, so police commanders could employ at least 20 full-time officers.

“We had campaigned that we would work to restore the manpower in the police department if this levy passed” Klamar said. “We are staying true to our word”

Even with 19 full-time officers, one extra cop on board now should ease the burden for everyone else, Klamar contends.

“This will help because there were a lot of shifts in 2013 that were only staffed with two officers,” Klamar said. “This meant that officers were often being reactive only as they needed to be available for calls. Additionally, if those same two officers were on a call that required a two-person response, such as an alarm or a domestic, any other calls for service would be put on hold”

Timeline of Perkins police’s full-time staffing levels

•Early 2013: Financial reasons forced Perkins Township trustees eliminate four full-time police positions, including laying off three people working in these spots. The number of full-time township police roster spots drops from 20 to 16.

•May 2013: Township residents overwhelmingly support a levy to create $1.9 million a year solely for police operations. The money, among other reasons, aims to replenish the police department’s full-time staffing levels.

•Mid-to-late 2013: Trustees recall two of the eliminated positions after finding additional money and negotiating with the union. The number of fulltime police roster spots increases from 16 to 18.

•Recently: Trustees hire one additional full-time officer, increasing the amount to 19.

Source: Register research

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