Waldwick October 14, 2009 THE VILLADOM TIMES III • Page 3 Waldwick Police Chief Mark Messner last week defended the size of his department in front of the Waldwick Council, making a case for the detective sergeant and for each of the 19 officers presently on the force. Former Mayor Frank McKenna, speaking at the end of the meeting, agreed with Messner, saying: “We need the detective. We need a ranked officer. He is looking out for our interests in investigations.” The chief’s attendance at the council meeting was prompted by the impending retirement of Sgt. Gordon Andre and the request of some council members to discuss the needs of the police department and the possibility of eliminating one sergeant position. The department now has four sergeants, each of whom heads one of four squads; and a detective/sergeant, who Police chief makes the case for detective supervises the five dispatchers on staff and maintains the computer network in addition to his investigative duties. Messner explained that the sergeant position, which was instituted in 1996, is highly specialized and requires extensive training and experience, which Detective Kevin Smith has. He said that in an investigation, it is crucial to have a clear line of authority in charge of the scene, and that it is important the person be someone “with stripes”, not a patrolman pulled from his squad. “Scenes are not getting any easier. We are not Mayberry any more,” said Messner. He enumerated a number of serious cases which have been handled in recent years, including rape, attempted abduction, attempted murder, a bank robbery, and a murder just a year ago, as well as several burglary arrests and sex offender arrests. “These are just a few examples of crime scenes and interactions with outside entities where a supervisor, especially a trained detective, must make decisions that have immediate and long-range consequences. The functions of patrol and the detective bureau are not interchangeable, and neither is a part-time job. Expertise is required of both disciplines, as is the decision-making authority that goes with rank,” the chief said. He added that because Waldwick is a Civil Service town, anyone put in a supervisory role for more than 30 days must get paid at that level, thus cancelling out any savings. The 2009 salary of a patrol officer is $112,409, and that of the detective sergeant is $119,925, the chief said, amounting to a cost of .0048 cents a day per household. Borough Administrator Gary Kratz pointed out that if a patrolman is pulled from the squad to do the investigative detective work, overtime would increase, again negating any savings. When Councilman Frank Palladino suggested that the detective’s position could be shared with another municipality, Messner replied: “We could probably use two detectives.” Councilwoman Anita Bozzo questioned whether the lieutenant could be assigned squad responsibilities and a secretary could be hired to handle some of the chief’s paperwork. “You would be cutting my right arm and getting me a secretary. He (the lieutenant) has a full plate, so that would not be a good swap. A one-man administration won’t do it,” Messner said. Messner also made a case for the addition of another patrolman, a traffic officer, calling the position “crucial”. He said that 95 percent of complaints the department receives are traffic related, so it made sense to have a dedicated officer. The governing body had previously rejected adding the position, even though it is part of the department’s table of organization, he said. ������������������ We Are Parties • Playland • Turf/Sports • Archade • Wacky Science • Baseball