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Meeting Date: June 20, 2017
AGENDA ITEM: Resolution Authorizing Council to Reclassify Two Officer Positions to Two Corporal Positions.
MEETING DATE: June 20, 2017
PREPARED BY: Ruben Chavez, Police Chief
REVIEWED BY: Jose Antonio Ramirez, City Manager
Adopt Resolution No. 2017- , approving the police department rank structure to reclassify two (2)
officer positions to two (2) corporal positions.
Prior to 2012, the patrol supervisors for the police department have included three (3) sergeants and three (3) corporals. Today, there are two (2) sergeants and two (2) corporals assigned as patrol supervisors. Currently, if a supervisor is not working a given shift, the highest ranking officer is designated as the “Officer in Charge” or “OIC” and is compensated an extra 5% for this assignment.
The police department has a very young and inexperienced work force and as a result, the officer in charge may still be on probation and technically supervise another officer on probation. This practice is contrary to many sound and fundamental supervisory practices. The department should have at least one (1) supervisory rank of corporal or higher on each shift. Transferring two (2) officer positions to two (2) corporal positions will allow a supervisor to be placed on each shift and each watch.
DISCUSSION & RECOMMENDATION:
The supervision of police personnel is one of the most important practices of police agencies to ensure the safety of the public as well as limit exposure to liability. Until 2012, the Livingston Police Department had two (2) command officers, three (3) sergeants, and three (3) corporals. The sergeants and corporals were in essence assigned as shift supervisors.
Currently, the department lacks the ability to properly supervise the younger officers. When the senior officers on duty act as an OIC, they are compensated 5% extra during that time period. When the OIC is also assigned a new officer to train as a “Field Training Officer” or “PTO”, they are compensated an additional 5%. Each corporal and sergeant must attend a Peace Officer Standards and Training “POST” Course to learn basic supervisory practices. The 80-hour course culminates with a comprehensive exam requiring a passing grade to successfully complete the course.
Of the eleven officers assigned to patrol, only two have more than two years of experience. The nine remaining officers have less than two years experience, seven are still on probation. The four supervisors assigned to patrol are not able to effectively supervise these officers as there are six patrol shifts.
There may be shifts where an officer on probation is supervising another officer on probation. The officers are still developing their skills at investigating serious criminal activity as well as deciphering the elements of complicated crimes. It is imperative during those times; an officer is supervised to ensure proper direction is given and proper action is taken.
Over the last thirty to forty years, numerous commission reports on police misconduct have identified the lack of supervision as the number one cause of misconduct. While the vast majority of police personnel are committed to operating within legal bounds, the lack of supervision creates avenues of shortcuts and policy violations which can lead to anywhere from minor to serious misconduct cases. These cases may also expose the agencies to civil liabilities.
Additionally, having career advancement opportunities for officers provides longevity for police employees and improves overall morale within the organization. We currently have only two officers who have more than five years with the Livingston Police Department. These two officers many times act as the ore and as an PTO at the same time. They, however, have the ability to select their own shift while corporals are provided specific shifts available for selection which are intended to provide coverage throughout the shifts.
Currently the two sergeants are assigned to a swing shift and the two corporals assigned to the midnight shift. During a dayshift, there may be only two probationary officers working. While during the week, they may rely on command officers, there are times that they may function on their own and must use their best judgment during critical and non-critical situations.
It is recommended that two (2) officer positions be reclassified as two (2) corporal positions. This will allow a corporal or sergeant to be placed on each of the six shifts providing oversight for each of those time periods. In addition, the department may allow a rotation type shift assignment as to allow each corporal to rotate between the three shifts. This practice additionally provides for a healthy and energetic employee and enhances overall morale.
The department performed a fiscal analysis of the total costs of two officers’ salaries to include the premium pay for FYI 6-17 compared with two (2) corporal positions at the highest step. The difference between the two is de minimis. When comparing two (2) corporal w/degree salaries at Step E with costs associated with two (2) officers at Step E and including all the premium pay worked by all ore and PTO costs, there was a positive balance of $1,270.05. Granted, although it appears the costs associated are mostly equivalent, an increase of $5,000.00 would still provide justification for this reclassification.
Limiting liability additionally provides cost savings measures as one incident involving misconduct can potentially cost the City thousands of dollars in attorney’s fees as well as civil penalty payouts.
1. Resolution No 2017- _ authorizing Council to Reclassify Two Officer Positions to Two Corporal Positions.
2. Salary Comparison Spreadsheet
RESOLUTION NO. 2017-
RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF LIVINGSTON APPROVING THE RECLASSIFCAITON OF TWO OFFICER
POSITIONS TO TWO CORPORAL POSTIONS