Cost of equipment and new training standards are stretching the Wellington police department’s bottom line, chief Tim Barfield recently told village council.
The village has not raised the uniform allowance for new officers since 2006, he said.
“The guys buy their uniforms and do the best with what they get,” said Barfield. “I came across the memo from 2006 saying what the amounts were going to be and they are the same today.”
Full-time officers receive a yearly allowance of $540. Part-time officers and full-time dispatchers receive $360 while part-time dispatchers get $240.
“Pants and shirts are $55 to $60,” he said. “Coats cost a couple hundred. Holsters are $180. That $540 doesn’t last very long these days.”
Costs change over time, said mayor Hans Schneider: “Chief Barfield is well within his rights to ask us to take a look at the allowances.”
Wellington pays $400 for psychological testing of new officers under new collaborative standards. Sometimes they leave for another department shortly thereafter.
“We give officers an initial $1,500 to get equipped,” Barfield said. “If they leave in the first year, we’re looking at least at a $2,000 hit when you factor in the testing.”
He and council mulled over a few ideas to address the concerns, including making recruits pay back the cost of testing if they fail. Council member Guy Wells said “that would be a surefire way to not get new recruits.”
It was determined that making officers reimburse the cost of testing if they decide to leave the village within their first year was the best option.
Also, if another department wants to use Wellington’s testing for an officer rather than paying for its own while hiring them away, it should have to pay the village for those tests, said Schneider.
“We don’t want to be a training ground for other departments and paying their testing bills for them,” he said. “If there’s a way for us to get our investment back, it’s something we have to look at.”
Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.