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