Police captain position will be left vacant for 2013With increases in employee pay, health insurance and other expenses, each city department was asked to reduce its other spending for next year.
By: Randy Hanson, Hudson Star-Observer
The position vacated by former Hudson Police Lt. Eric Atkinson when he left in September to take over as chief of the Menomonie Police Department will go unfilled for 2013.
The name of the Hudson Police Department’s second-in-command post has since been changed to captain.
Police Chief Marty Jensen chose to let it go unfilled for the remainder of 2012 rather than hire or promote someone, and then not have money to fund the position for 2013.
Jensen was aware that next year’s budget would be a tight one, given the fact that the city is limited by state law to a levy increase of $43,000.
With increases in employee pay, health insurance and other expenses, each city department was asked to reduce its other spending for 2013.
Jensen had to cut his $2.8 million budget by $56,000, and find an additional $40,000 for gasoline for police squad cars.
The police chief presented budget options for the Public Safety Committee to consider when it met Oct. 6, including one to fund the captain’s position.
The option the committee recommended was promoting the department’s two investigators to sergeant, and leaving the captain position vacant for now.
Jensen said it would allow him to maintain a staff of five supervisors, and allow him flexibility in getting additional officers on the street when it is needed. The sergeant detectives will be able to respond to incidents without having to call a supervisor, too, he said.
He said the move will allow him to reduce the department’s budget by about $45,000 next year.
The City Council’s Finance Committee approved the plan Monday night.
When asked, Jensen said the sergeant with the most seniority, Patrol Sgt. Glen Hartman, would be in charge of the department in his absence.
The department now has 21 sworn police officers, including the chief and five sergeants.
The number of officers also dropped by one when former Police Lt. Paul Larson retired in 2011. Before Larson’s retirement, the department had 23 officers.
In response to a question from Alderperson Randy Morrissette II, Jensen told the Finance Committee that Wisconsin cities have an average of 2.4 police officers per 1,000 residents. Hudson has 1.78 officers per 1,000 residents, he said.