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Police Budget Debate Continues: Meeting Tuesday

By Becky Coffey

Published January 14. 2013 3:06PM

At 11:15 p.m. last Friday, after four and one half-hours of discussion, votes, and debate, the Police Commission finally adjourned. The discussion on what the Commission will send to the Selectmen as its final proposed budget and asociated staffing profile will continue on Tuesday evening. The Commission's meeting to take a final vote on the proposed department budget to send to the Board of Selectmen will be held at the Old Saybrook Middle School Auditorium, 60 Sheffield Street, starting at 7 p.m., Tues., Jan. 15.

During last Friday's meeting, the Police Commission voted on all but the final budget proposal line item. Among the votes the Commission did take was to deny Police Chief Spera's request to add 2.5 new sworm police officers. Other staffing and staff-hour expansions proposed in the Chief's budget were approved. The Chief had told the Commission that these civilian positions an extra hours would free up time in sworn officers schedules to allow allow them to spend more time on duties only sworn officers can perform.

Police Chief Michael Spera's budget proposal to the Police Commission, had it been approved without change, would have increased the department's operating budget by 15.3 percent and the capital budget by 104.55 percent resulting in an overall increase year to year of 17.38 percent. Staffing changes that the proposed budget reflected included adding 2.5 sworn police officer positions, converting the Information Technology director position, a function now performed by a sworn officer, into a civilian position, adding a full-time civilian criminal investigations analyst, a part-time evidence room technician, and increased hours for the Chief's Executive Assistant, the records clerk, and the Director of EMS.

All proposed town department budgets are due to the First Selectman's office by Wed., Jan. 15.