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Local News

March 1, 2014

OPD vacancies may go unfilled

Police chief, union split on 12-hour shift schedule

(Continued)

On Friday, Miller estimated each police position cost $65,000 to $75,000 with benefits, and maintaining two of the four vacancies would be a savings for at least this year.

Detective Eric Berger, president of the Police Benevolent Association, said the union would like to see all four vacancies filled. Community policing becomes more difficult with fewer numbers, he said.

Nayor became police chief in April 2012, taking the helm from an interim chief hired after the department wrestled with separate cases charging police brutality and on-duty patrol officers allegedly involved in a sex scandal. Nayor promptly clarified and promoted a personnel hiring policy on quality and suitability of officers over the quantity in the ranks.

On Friday in regards to the motion before the council, Nayor said two applicants ranked as strong candidates and a third applicant’s background check still is underway.

“I’m OK with quality over quantity — I will make it work,” Nayor said. The chief, who plans to attend Tuesday’s meeting in City Hall, said he has no control over the city’s budget but has to work within its parameters.

“The department still will be better with the right personnel,” Nayor said. “Quality and suitability are always most important.”

Nayor, who had been neutral about the 12-hour shift before the trial, voiced objections Friday.

In early September, the police department began a three-month trial to test the impact 12-hour shifts. Under the schedule, three officers would work starting at either 8 a.m. or 8 p.m., and officers would work two days, then have three days off.

At the beginning of this year, the trial was extended another three months.

Nayor said the 12-hour shift scheduling hasn’t worked from an administrative perspective. Nayor said he is concerned about levels of alertness, the duration of hours and a lack of flexibility in scheduling officers after shifts end when needs arise.

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