Chesterton Tribune



Chesterton Police: Low pay an obstacle to retaining and recruiting officers

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Over the last 10 years at least, raises for Town of Chesterton municipal employees have been both irregular and very modest. Add to that fact this one: the wages paid to Police Department employees in particular fall somewhere south of those paid by other PDs not only in Northwest Indiana but across the state.

Those two facts together, as Police Chief Dave Cincoski noted at Thursday evening’s meeting of the Police Commission, have made it difficult not only to retain experienced officers--two have left the department this year alone for greener pastures--but also to recruit new candidates.

And with the resignation last month of the CPD’s latest recruit--Ethan Krivek--the CPD is once again looking to hire, and fast.

Given the exigency of the situation, Cincoski put this proposal to the commission on Thursday: an amendment to the CPD’s Rules and Regulations (R&R) establishing a “lateral transfer position,” under which a hire with three years of service as a full-time sworn officer with another department--and who has already graduated from a law enforcement academy--would be immediately promoted to 1st Class officer after successfully completing a six-month probationary period.

Currently, new hires must first complete probation--a six- to 12-month term--then serve at least another 12 months as a 2nd Class officer (at $20.95 per hour) before being eligible for promotion to 1st Class (at $21.98 per hour). Cincoski said that he’s hopeful the quick bump under the lateral transfer position amendment would be enough to expand the pool of interested applicants.

The commission agreed and voted unanimously to adopt the new R&R. They also voted unanimously to authorize Cincoski to seek the Town Council’s approval for an amendment to the Personnel Policy Handbook, under which currently a new municipal employee is not eligible for a week of vacation until after the first full year of service, and not eligible for two weeks until after the second full year. Cincoski hopes to persuade the council to amend that policy, so that an officer hired in a lateral transfer position would be eligible for two weeks of vacation after successfully completing the probationary period.

New SOP on Beards

In other business, Cincoski--formally recognizing the success of last year’s No-Shave November and the early, still-bristly days of this year’s--asked the commission to approve an amendment to the CPD’s R&R which would codify the wearing of beards during the winter months.

Under that R&R, full beards may be worn from Nov. 1 through March 31. At all times they must be clean-shaven and not extend beyond one inch from the jaw line. And “If at any time a supervising officer believes a beard to be unprofessional or unclean in appearance, the officer will be given until the next duty shift to correct the issue.”

Also under the R&R, goatees--and goatees only--may be worn at any time during the year, so long as they too are “professional in appearance and clean-shaven.” But no other “partial facial hair styles will be allowed.”

Cincoski added that No-Shave November proved a resounding success last year, that the beards worn by officers have been “respectable and professional,” and that--not to put too fine a point on it--beards will “assist with facial warmth and comfort during the winter months.”

As for the goatee allowance, Cincoski said, it “is in keeping with restrictions and allowances offered by surrounding jurisdictions.”

Members voted unanimously to adopt the new R&R.

Meanwhile, Cincoski reported that the CPD will be receiving a $2,200 no-match grant from the U.S. Department of Justice for the purchase of bulletproof vests.

That grant will reimburse the department 50 percent of the cost of approximately five vests.

Halloween Debrief

In response to an inquiry from Member Pete Duda, Cincoski reported that Halloween on Tuesday, Oct. 31, was for the most part uneventful, with the exception of two incidents of spray-paint vandalism reported late in the afternoon.

“Overall trick-or-treat was a safe and quiet night for all involved,” Cincoski said.

October in Review

In October the CPD responded to 736 calls (799 in September), filed 66 cases (65), issued 61 citations and 72 warnings (122 and 99), and investigated 37 accidents with 11 injuries (30 accidents with five injuries).

Calls for service in October included 104 suspicious vehicles or person (99 in September), 10 thefts (seven), 43 alarms (42), 10 incidents of vandalism (four), one railroad complaint (zero), two animal complaints (three), 254 traffic stops (287), one attempted theft (zero), three reports of battery (four), three burglaries (one), 32 disturbances (27), one report of counterfeit currency (three), seven reports of fraud (eight), three runaways (two), and two reports of a sex offense (zero).


Posted 11/10/2017




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