August 3, 2013 6:42:56 PM
Carl Smith - [email protected]
Starkville Police Chief David Lindley says a potential staff reshuffling within the police department will allow the city to aggressively pursue more enforcement grants, maintain accreditation standards and create two warrant officer positions.
Lindley unveiled the proposed staffing plan to the city's audit and budget committee Tuesday and said the changes would incur only a $52,560.14 increase in the department's line item for salaries. Only one new position would be created under Lindley's proposal.
SPD's current staffing plan spreads 55 sworn personnel, 10 civilians and one parking enforcement employee over numerous departments. Currently, the department maintains four patrol divisions, which are each comprised of a sergeant and six officers. Those four departments report to two lieutenants.
Under Lindley's proposal, the amount of patrol officers would be reduced by one per division. Two of those slots would then evolve to warrant officer positions, which would report to a newly created special operations lieutenant's position. The lieutenant's position would be promoted from within, he said, and will handle a reshuffled division consisting of SPD's two motorcycle officers, two DUI officers and the warrant officers.
The new lieutenant's position would also focus on grant-writing tasks. SPD utilizes a sergeant who writes grants part-time. Lindley said he hopes the department can go after more grant funding by focusing SPD's efforts.
According to Lindley's budget proposal, promoting a certified officer to lieutenant would cost $18,280.72 in terms of salary, insurance, retirement and other expenses. SPD currently has the $44,935.90 in its budget to support a new certified officer and that position's other costs.
The proposed professional standards/records clerk position would pay a new employee $23,947.88 annually, but insurance and other benefits would increase the city's cost to $34,279.42.
The police department received $840,194 in grant funding over the past four years, and those monies are used to help pay overtime and purchase equipment. SPD was recently approved for another $209,955 in assistance for the 2013-2014 fiscal year, Lindley confirmed Friday.
SPD's overall budget proposal remains flat in comparison to previous year. Professional services are expected to increase by about $22,000, while gasoline and oil expenses are budgeted at more than $50,000 compared to last year. The department previously lowered its gasoline budget for the 2012-2013 fiscal year. Vehicle maintenance allotments were increased to $75,000 in the current proposal. Previous budgets show the department used more than $100,000 on those expenses over the past two years.
Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch