Selectmen agree to increase number of sergeants on police force

Southborough Police Chief Jane Moran told selectmen this week that she has been working on getting the right number of supervisory positions in the Police Department for the past two years, and thanks to a decision by the Board of Selectmen this week, she’s hopeful that soon she’ll have succeeded.

Last July selectmen signed off on Moran’s plan to add a lieutenant to the ranks — a new position for the force. She also got approval to promote one of her patrol officers to the position of sergeant. This week she asked selectmen for the okay to promote another officer to increase the number of sergeants on the force to four.

Moran told selectmen an additional sergeant is needed to fill “voids” in the staffing schedule. When no sergeant is on duty, Moran said she must assign a patrol officer as the Officer in Charge or OIC. According to Moran, the OIC is intended to be a temporary position, but she has to assign one regularly.

Moran said having one patrol officer as OIC in charge of other patrol officers creates “command problems.” She also said the OIC doesn’t have all the training of a sergeant which could be a liability for the town.

Because the OIC gets an additional stipend, Moran said it wouldn’t initially cost the town any money to promote a patrol officer to sergeant, but she acknowledged there would be future costs as the pay scale for a sergeant exceeds that for a patrol officer.

Selectman John Rooney voted in favor of Moran’s request, saying it was necessary to keep the department running smoothly. “The issue that concerns me is the command issue,” Rooney said. “Having an officer in charge of other officers, that breeds discontent.”

Selectman Bill Boland disagreed saying Moran could solve the command issue by reassigning the current sergeants to different shifts.

With Selectman Dan Kolenda as tie-breaker, the board voted 2-1 to support Moran’s request.

Selectmen will interview candidates for the one lieutenant and two sergeant positions next Wednesday. All candidates are internal. Details on the interviews, which are open to the public, haven’t been made available yet, but I’ll post them when they are.

Related posts
Southborough Police will add a lieutenant to its ranks (July 2010)
Selectmen consider staffing changes at the police department (March 2010)

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living the dream
12 years ago

I would be interested in knowing who the candidates are first and foremost. I think it is poor timing with the economy and there must be a better way but clearly we still have the “spend” mentality in this town. I am all for the safety but if we can’t put enough patrols on the streets (according to Moran in her MWDN article) shouldn’t we hire lower paying patrolmen instead and keep the town safe instead of supervising the ones we have? It just makes sense to me.

12 years ago

Am I reading the article correctly? In less than a year our budget conscious Selectmen have allowed our Police Chief to add one lieutenant and two sargeants to our police force. The article seems to indicate that one of the sargeants and the lieutenant are both additions to the staff while the other sargeant slot was filled by promoting a patrol officer. There’s no mention of back-filling that patrol officer’s slot. Wasn’t the Chief bemoaning the lack of patrol officers recently? I don’t feel any safer now that the police station is staffed by a full compliment of Officers In Charge. Were all these raises and new officer salaries included in the budget we just ok’d at TM?

12 years ago

One lieutenant and FOUR sergeants in Sleepy Hollow….give me a break. Lets have pension plans and health care for all. New police cars in lieu of taxes for Fay and St Marks. What an easy way out. Drive a used car like I do. What are we protecting ourselves from, wayward Southborough youth?

bob a
12 years ago

How about a posting of the police calls here like the fire department calls

I'm just sayin'....
12 years ago

I agree with Selectman Boland….use the resources we have and put one sargeant on each shift. We have lived here for over 19 years and the police force has grown to a size that just doesn’t seem to fit with the size of our town. I absolutely support the police and fire departments, but their budgets have gotten way out of hand. It is especially disconcerting when I see two cruisers sitting in parking lots in town, their engines running (is this where our $60,000/year gas budget goes?!?) just chillin’ and visiting…and not just for a minute or two. I also do not understand why the department needs an super large SUV…a definite gaz guzzler and I am thinking no faster than our cruisers. It is past time to be more prudent and responsible with our resources…and that includes our hard earned dollars.

living the dream
12 years ago

Actually we have 2 SUVs because Chief Moran decided she needed one as well. Bill Webber never thought we had a need. We never missed a call because the cruiser couldn’t get there. This is just another instance of Chief Moran using taxpayers money in unneccesarily. I want a big house and two new cars but I don’t get everything I want. She needs a reality check and needs to stop wasting our money. In addition, the BOS need to stop approving her every whim and costing us more and more. We can no longer be spend thrifts in this economy and I am not sure what it will take for the BOS to see that.

12 years ago

I was at TM when she went for the SUV. Not one vote against it. It replaced a administrators car with 70,000 miles. Not patrol miles, where the car goes from zero to 80 and back down to zero in a 1/2 mile, and idles for hours on end and the door gets opened 40 times a day.

12 years ago

Sergeants are simply shift supervisors. Do the math people. The police schedule is a repeating 6 day week, 2 days off 4 days working. This allows the officer’s days off to change every week. In short, the schedule is a repeating 6 day week. That is 3 shifts a day, X 6 days, or 18 shifts. If a Sergeant works 4 shifts in that 6 day period, and there are only 4 Sergeants totaling 16 shifts, than there are still 2 shifts that operate without supervision. Most departments of Southboro’s size actually have 5 Sergeants and 2 Lieutenants. Southboro currently has 3 Seargants. That leaves 6 shifts in a 6 day period uncovered. The new sergeant will address 4 of those shifts. The Chief and Lieutenant are administrators, not shift supervisors. They are often engaged in meetings in or out of town and cannot be available to make the split second descisions that Sergeants need to make in the field. These descisions often involve life threating situations that could cost the town dearly if not handled properly.

12 years ago
Reply to  ProCop

I disagree with your statement that “The Chief and Lieutenant are administrators, not shift supervisors.” Certainly the Chief is an administrator but the Chief has made it VERY clear in her public statements requesting the Lieutenant’s position that the Lt. would be a shift supervisor AND an administrator.

Its absurd to think that a tiny police department like Southborough needs this much administration. Keep in mind they also have an administrative person in reserve officer Rick Mattiolli.

I am surprised to read the comments by Selectmen Rooney on police matters. He seems to give the police department a blank check on everything. I’d like to see him apply the same level of scrutiny he applied to the school budget to the police budget and administration.

Last – I hope all three Selectmen have read Susan’s comment that the police department has refused to send her an email version of the police log. We read comments all the time about how understaffed the police department is and how much crime is rising, etc etc. Perhaps the Selectmen could ask Chief Moran to publish the weekly police log so the residents would have some ability to determine for ourselves what type and level of activity the police really have in Southborough. Maybe its a lot more than we think! But publicizing the information would be beneficial to the town residents and thepo9lice department.

John Kendall
12 years ago
Reply to  susan

I don’t understand the issue with the logs. You and Linda Hubley always have the fire logs, and they use the same exact dispatch and logging system as the police.

12 years ago

I have listened to all this stuff about 2 Sergeants being approved and some people are under the impression that they are additional people they are not When Chief Moran was apponited they never filled her position which was a sergeant when a Lieutenant is appointed they will fill his position and they will fill Chief Morans slot people sure talk alot not knowing whats going on Pro Cop above has the right message about Police work there is to0 much liability not to have Sergeants running the shifts. your Police Force ia top shelf and needs to be left alone. to do thier job.

12 years ago

I haven’t seen the Villager in a while but the last time I looked the police logs were in there. Mostly motor vehicle arrests or accidents and calls from citizens for “suspicious” activity.

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