DEWITT — For a second time, Police Chief David Porter brought a request for an 11th police officer to the DeWitt City Council with the intention of phasing out part-time officers.
Porter based his request on lack of availability of part-time officers and lack of training. It is not cost effective to have well-trained part-time officers who can’t be scheduled and it is a liability to work those officers without adequate training, Porter said. He added that there has been an increase in vacation time, sick leave and comp time, with more injuries recently.
Although there will be savings in some areas, the cost of another officer, estimated at as much as $63,000 in 2014-2015 fiscal year and $85,000 in 2015-2016, is not in the budget. Delaying purchase of another vehicle would offset some costs, Porter noted, and the new officer could be considered an intern with the position reevaluated after an expected retirement in 2017.
Porter also said the department could be continuously short if an officer was lost to military service, which has recently happened.
Councilman Kurt Ketelsen said he was worried about maintaining the budget, and councilman Steve Hasenmiller said if it would have to be done sometime, there was no reason to delay a decision. The new officer would need to attend the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy in August.
But councilman Verlyn Scheckel asked for more time to digest the information.
“I want to think on it some more,” he said.
At that point the council again deferred the request to a future meeting.
The long-standing disagreement over shared sewer and water utilities at 221 E. Second St. appears to have been resolved. The city approved an agreement with 221 Second St. owner Dave McAleer and 211 E. Second St. owner Bill McGimpsey that will correct the shared utilities that were not divided at purchase of the properties. The cost is estimated at $12,000, half of which will be paid by McGimpsey. McAleer will permit McGimpsey to work on his property to install the separate utilities, and the city will pay McAleer’s cost upfront with repayment quarterly until 2019. Work must be completed by July 25.