Chief Ryan’s request for an amendment to the fiscal 2010 budget, which would allow the Elkton Police Department to exchange field positions for two management positions, had official split on the proposal at the July 22 meeting. “I would like to give back the position that was allocated for a police officer in 2010 and the current sergeant’s position . . . and add a position upgrade for an executive officer and a new lieutenant’s position in place of a sergeant,” the chief informed the board. For the management and future direction of the police department, this would assure better operational efficiency and span of control, he noted.
Two members of the board questioned the value of the staffing proposal. “You’re loading up the top of the organization . . . . I’d like to see more foot-patrols because crime is getting terrible,” Commissioner Storke remarked. “I agree with Gary. We need more foot-patrols, more officers out on the street, rather than putting more in the station,” Mayor Fisona emphasized.
As the discussion continued, the chief emphasized that it provides the accountability he needs to efficiently manage the department and build it for the future. “Why can’t you get the accountability now without going to this step?” the mayor queried. “I can’t put a sergeant in charge of sergeants. It has to have a different rank,” the police executive noted.
“This is the first time a budget amendment has come before us here because . . . If it’s within a budget we just vote on it,” Commissioner Jablonski remarked. “But we’re actually adding a position,” Storke replied. “It’s an increase in the upper echelon. How many lieutenants are there now?” Three was the reply.
Commissioner Piner observed that he relies on the department heads to know what their needs are. “We as official listen to the request and I know it’s a new position but it’s a needed position as far as I’m concerned.” “ I’m sure we need more foot-patrols, but we just can’t put them on the street, as the chief said. I’m all for it. I don’t have a problem with it.” Commissioner Jablonski said she too was “fine with the reorganization.”
When the mayor polled Commissioner Givens, he remarked that he’d heard the chief’s proposal and the pros and cons of the discussion and he would now think it over and make his vote at the right time. “That’s all I’m going to say. I will not make a rash decision?”
As the conversation wrapped up, the mayor polled the board to see if the proposal would be presented at a regular meeting for a formal vote. Two members of the board favored more patrols, two were okay with the chief’s proposal, and one said he would weigh the evidence and vote at the right time. In a final remark, Commissioner Piner wondered about where the evidence was showing that foot-patrols are effective at stopping crime. “You’re more visible, but I don’t’ see where the difference is with the officer’s getting calls from dispatch.” Storke commented, all we’re saying is, “Do we need a lieutenant versus two officers out in cars.” The formal vote on the chief’s request will probably occur at the next regular board meeting.