file photo by Boyd Loving
Readers debate Manpower at Ridgewood PD
The PD manpower is very low, there are several employees eligable to retire at anytime. Minimum manpower on patrol is down to 4 patrol man and 1 supervisor to cover the entire town, that’s from Goffle and rock north to goffle and lake st all the way to the Paramus and Washington twp border near immaculate heart.and down into the lawns by Hawes school including the easternmost area east of Van Emburg. Pretty thin don’t you think? 1 domestic dispute and your down to one person on the road and do not be bamboozeled by the response “you got lots of inside people” they aren’t there any more,they have been eliminated through attrition, retirements, and a firing. 4 men assigned to the bureau, who don’t work 24/7 . The town needs to hire police officers now.
That depends on who does the staffing plan. People with no law enforcement experience, bean counters who work in the corporate world have no business dictating or recommending police staffing levels, there are actual facts, the state police ucr staffing report, which recommends 56 officers for Ridgewood the matrix report which say 44 officers as a minimum staffing level, and that came from a company that was hired by a previous coucil, also the department roster level of the rest of the PD’s in Bergen county, last check had Ridgewood at the lowest officer per resident rate in Bergen. The collective bargaining agreement has already been modified thru PBA cooperation to reduce starting salaries, and lower longevity payment, and lower capped sick time accumulation for new hires, yet the town has failed to take action and rehire. Who is the tiger tean and what are their qualifications to make recommendations as to how many police are necessary to protect the village.
If that is correct, it will be confirmed when a long-term staffing evaluation/plan is done. Right now, we have no actual facts to support whether we are under-staffed or over-staffed in a particular department. By creating efficiencies through other ideas proposed in the report, we may find that historical staffing needs no longer apply. We should get this comprehensive evaluation completed quickly to understand our actual staffing needs in the future. When employees retire, we definitely need to proceed with caution before deciding to hire a replacement.
Last i looked the village had 44 police officers, what do they all do?
The police department may be properly staffed. The staffing plan that the tiger team recommended does not appear to be about reducing staffing arbitrarily. From what I read, they recommended getting an understanding of pending retirements and what the necessary staffing levels in all departments should be. I don’t think they are suggesting that they should perform that evaluation. It stands to reason that any evaluation would need to involve input from appropriate personnel from the each department, who understand the needs. Of course, in the case of the police, the state UCR report is probably not the definitive reference for staffing needs in Ridgewood. I think it offers more of a guideline based on historical practices, which may or may not reflect the specific needs in Ridgewood. Nor does it take into account the long term cost of its staffing guidelines in a particular municipality, which is the most important consideration. It is quite possible that existing contracts can create a cost structure that limits potential staffing options.
The bottom line is that there are about 275 employees in town and the police are only 16% of them. Rather than laying off newer employees (as Gabbert’s budget proposes) to cut expenses, the Village should try to take advantage of normal attrition (retirement) to reduce costs according to a thoughtful plan. If a department is properly staffed or understaffed, then such a plan should have no impact or may even point to increased staffing in that department. Accordingly, this is something that employees should encourage, not resist.