Town and police discuss funding for second captain position
"I will tell you that I believe we need [a second captain] position, and this is coming from the person looking down at that position," said Chief Edward Nadriczny. "Captain Krolikowski has done a great job assuming both jobs, but I just pulled out a recent staff meeting agenda and of the 27 items on the agenda, he has 22 of them. So, he's doing a great job doing both jobs, but we've seen some things slip. ... We've got a lot of holes and we're putting too many fingers in to fill those holes."
For 30 years the police department had operated with two captains until a former captain retired in June of last year, Nadriczny said. Traditionally, one captain is in charge of the patrolling officers, which now total 30, and the other is in charge of surveillance personnel, the training office, recruitment testing and selection, the vehicle fleet and special projects.
Currently, the department is running with one chief, one captain, five lieutenants, eight sergeants and 30 patrolmen. The five lieutenant and eight sergeant staff seats are contracted positions, Nadriczny said.
Nadriczny said the department would like to promote one patrolman to sergeant, one sergeant to lieutenant and one lieutenant to captain, which would shuffle the force breakdown to one chief, two captains, five lieutenants, eight sergeants and 29 patrolmen.
The cost increase of these three promotions is about $39,000, according to Nadriczny.
"This is not a request for another person," Nadriczny said. "We are at 45 and we would either have two captains or an extra patrolman. My suggestion is to have two captains."
According to Nadriczny, the officers who fill the chief and caption positions are currently the only non-union members on the force.
"We have the biggest union in the town besides the Board of Education and I think it's good [for me] to have another non-union thinker to bounce ideas off of," Nadriczny said.
Board members voiced mixed concerns about funding the three-way promotion.
"I think they made a compelling case to have the two captains," said board member Kathleen Corbet. "Leading any organization, it's good to have two people underneath you to sort of give the organization balance and promotion opportunities. It seems like a small [dollar] amount to retain that position."
First Selectman Jeb Walker said he is not "totally convinced" of the department's need for a second captain position, but recognized that it seems like it would be helpful.
Board member Todd Lavieri questioned whether the force could afford to swap a frontman for an additional captain and pointed out that the series of promotions needed to secure the second captain would cost more than the approximate $39,000 price tag included in the pending budget.
"You're talking about 50 incidents a day, or 18,000 incidents [at the police department] in a year--that's two per hour," he said. "So the question I would ask is, can you do the promotion and lose one of the patrolmen to offset the cost that way. Because ... it's not $40,000, it's, over 10 years, $400,000. You're asking the tax payer to pay a half million dollars over a 10-year window for this idea. I'm not saying it's a bad idea, but can we offset that cost anywhere else? This is why I ask this question: How over-taxed is everybody else?"
Several board members requested a head count and rank breakdown of the police forces in comparable towns like Darien and Wilton before the board decides whether to approve the department's request for a second captain.