Twin Lakes restructures police department

(click for larger view)

(click for larger view)

A restructuring of the Police Department designed to improve supervision of officers and flatten the organization was approved unanimously by the Twin Lakes Village Board Monday night.

The department’s four sergeant positions and one part-time lieutenant will be eliminated. Three full-time lieutenant positions will replace the sergeants as everyday supervisors, but unlike the sergeants, the lieutenants will not be in the union representing the patrol officers.

The former alignment of the sergeants in the same union as the patrol officers “causes a conflict of interest when you’re trying to do management,” Chief Dale R. Racer told the board before the vote Monday.

Under the new plan, the department will have the same number of full-time officers — 13.

tlpd-bike-cropThe plan also may lower the total cost for officers pay, but that is a side benefit.

“This is really more about structure,”  said Trustee Kevin Fitzgerald.

The new positions were to be posted today, Racer said. Nine of the 12 officers in the department (not counting the chief) would be eligible to apply for the new postions under the standards included in the plan for qualifications such as education and experience.

The selection process for the lieutenant positions will include a written test, an oral interview by command staff outside of the TLPD, an interview with the chief, a psychological evaluation and a Police Commission interview. Racer hopes to have the process completed by mid January.

Another benefit of the new structure is having the three lieutnants should do a better job of developing possible new chiefs from within the department, said Trustee Sharon Bower.

President Howard Skinner said his one concern about the new structure was some more senior offices might be looking at a pay cut if they were to take one of the new lieutenant positions.

Administrator David Cox said steps were taken to separate the pay of the patrol officers from the lieutenants, with the lieutenants making about 15 percent more. But senior officers who were aggressive about taking overtime hours in the past might see a decrease in pay for awhile if they became a lieutenant under the new structure since they will not receive overtime..

But Fitzgerald said there were benefits to taking the new job, even if pay was less for awhile.

“They are getting a position that should lead to advancement in their career,’ Fitzgerald said.


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