Idaho Springs Police Chief Nate Buseck has proposed restructuring the department by eliminating the vacant lieutenant position, adding another patrol officer, and promoting the two corporals to sergeants.
The immediate benefit would be a $15,000 annual cost savings, changing the department’s top-heavy supervisory structure and having another officer on the street.
During an April 11 City Council work session, Buseck said this proposal would also balance out ISPD’s two shifts, as each would have three officers and an overseeing sergeant.
The corporals already received a pay raise last year, Buseck said, so the promotion to sergeant would only be a change in title, not salary. Their responsibilities also wouldn’t change much, as they’ve completed more supervisory duties within the last year or so, he stated.
Members of City Council signed off on Buseck’s recommendation on April 11, and will vote to approve the new sergeant job descriptions during their April 25 meeting.
“It seems like the thing to do,” Mayor Chuck Harmon said of the proposed restructuring. “With such a small force, it takes away some of the top-heavy aspects and gives us more flexibility.”
ISPD is currently budgeted for a chief, a lieutenant, two corporals and five patrol officers. Until recently, the city had two vacant officer positions, but one was recently filled.
Buseck said the department plans to send someone to a law enforcement academy this summer, and they would fill the second vacant position once certified.
He also felt confident the department would find a qualified individual to fill the created sixth officer position, once available.
Thus, three officers and a sergeant will comprise a shift. One group will work 10 hours each Sunday through Wednesday, and the other will work the same Wednesday through Saturday.
The overlap on Wednesdays is for training, Buseck explained. One group will use their Wednesday for training while the other one works, and then switch the following week.
Buseck was confident this new system will work better than the current one. It will give the corporals more leadership and supervisory responsibilities; it will put an additional officer on the street; and the revised schedule will make it easier for employees to take time off.
“I don’t see any cons of doing it this way,” Buseck told the Council Members.
Council Members Scott Pennell and Kate Collier agreed and commended Buseck for “thinking outside the box.”
Council Member Lisa Manifold also saw the benefit to the corporals’ career paths by taking on more responsibilities as sergeants.
New officer joins ISPD
On April 4, ISPD hired Matthew Moore to fill one of its vacant patrol officer positions, and he has started the first phase of a 14-week field training program.
Moore is a recent graduate of the Arapahoe Community College Law Enforcement Academy, and was sworn in at the April 11 City Council meeting with his fiancé, daughter and parents in attendance.
While he doesn’t have any previous law enforcement experience, Moore said he was drawn to work in Idaho Springs because it gives him an opportunity to be “the best community-oriented police officer” he can be, according to an April 14 ISPD press release.
“Plus,” he continued, “I think it’s a beautiful place to work.”