Stonington ― The Board of Finance has supported a plan by the police department to create a deputy chief of police position.
The new position will include the job requirements of a captain and other responsibilities, and will be filled internally as will all the other vacancies that result from the promotion, except for an entry level patrol position.
The estimated cost of the promotions is approximately $53,000 per year, and a new officer is estimated to cost about $86,000 for a total additional cost of $139,000 per year.
First Selectman Danielle Chesebrough said she believes the money is available in the budget to cover the increase.
In a letter to the finance board, Chief of Police Jay DelGrosso cited increased administrative demands due to new state and federal legislation including the 2020 Police Accountability Act as one reason for the new position.
Additionally, DelGrosso stated that the creation of the new position would offer opportunities for career advancement and help the department plan for future staffing changes due to department members reaching the age of retirement. The department currently has 3 sergeants and a captain eligible for retirement, and 2 lieutenants who will be eligible in 2 1/2 years.
Chesebrough said changes will also be made to the job description for captain, a non-union position, to now oversee accreditation requirements for officers. These requirements are currently handled by a lieutenant, a union position which generates overtime.
”The new captain position will focus long term on accreditation needs and emergency management among other job duties,” she said.
“We have an emergency management person who is wonderful and has been doing it for years, but the role has really evolved over the years, and the requirements from the state are really pretty extensive,” she explained, adding, “it really makes sense for that to be a half-time position instead of a stipend position like we have it now.”
She also noted that the changes are intended to reduce the workload and overtime for officers which can cause burnout.
“This has to happen,” she said, “we can’t burn out our officers more than we already are.”
The police department is also developing a national recruiting effort to fill the patrol position that will open up as a result of the internal promotions as well as to fill the three other vacant patrol positions.
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