North Baltimore plans to hire police officers
Written by JORDAN CRAVENS Sentinel Staff Writer
Wednesday, 07 August 2013 08:26
NORTH BALTIMORE - Discussion over the need for increased staffing at the village police department drew criticism from a council member Tuesday who questioned past hirings.
"I have some concerns about some of the officers we have hired in the past," said council member Aaron Patterson.
Patterson's concerns were expressed after police Chief Allan Baer cited a need to increase staffing levels. Council agreed Tuesday to advertise for a full-time officer's position and a part-time dispatcher position.
Patterson said he would like to see additional background information on the candidates and to have council members more involved with the hiring process.
Mayor Mike Julien said he would like candidates to come before a board and wants to hire a more seasoned, veteran officer for the vacant position. He believes the department has become a "stepping-stone" for police officers. The officers complete their training in North Baltimore and then move on to another law enforcement job, he said.
The mayor said he wants to examine not only the hiring process, but also the compensation plan in attempt to better retain officers. The starting base pay for an officer is $12.57 per hour.
"We are not going to find an experienced officer for some 12 dollars an hour," Julien said.
Patterson also questioned police department employees working back-to-back shifts. The example he used was a police officer working a night security job and then working a full shift on patrol for the village.
"Are they at their best to protect the citizens of this community?" Patterson questioned. "About the time we find out that it is affecting (their performance) is about the time somebody gets hurt or somebody dies."
He suggested the village schedule shifts for employees following a break/rest and also looking into possible policies governing it.
Council member Leslee Thompson responded and said, "I understand what Aaron is saying, but I don't know how we can control that."
In a related matter, Julien said he had received a report from a private firm hired by the village to conduct an investigation related to a police department personnel issue.
However, Julien said he is withholding the check for Mercury Investigations until a representative of the company attends council's committee of the whole meeting on Tuesday to answer some additional questions.
"I don't feel that we have a complete report as expected," Julien said.
Also at the meeting, council:
• Approved a contract with a company to provide a more efficient, online shift sign-up system for EMS employees at a cost not to exceed $300 per year.
•Approved purchase of an electronic EMS charting system and corresponding iPad at a combined cost not to exceed $2,100.