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Peters may be hiring police

During budget talks next month, Peters officials will consider hiring more police to patrol local streets.

Capt. Mike Yanchak, who is in charge of scheduling for the department, said the force was short in June, when three officers were injured off-duty, and another was hurt on duty and also used vacation time.

As a result, 50 of 90 shifts in June were staffed with just two officers, Yanchak said.

Police Chief Harry Fruecht has said three on patrol is the desired number in the community, which is almost 20 square miles. Councilman Robert Lewis has said he wants four patrol officers on duty at all times.

“I don’t care about giving tickets. I’m concerned about the visibility of the officers,” Lewis said. “We’re not doing our community justice by not having enough officers.”

Council’s first budget workshop is Oct. 6.

One scenario discussed during a council workshop on police staffing earlier this month would add eight part-time officers to the force of 16 full-time officers. In addition to Fruecht and Yahchak, the department includes two detectives and a juvenile patrol officer.

Fruecht said the part-time officers would go through the same three-month training as full-time officers. They would be fully functional in six months to a year and would earn $20 per hour, Fruecht said. Neighboring communities pay part-time officers $8 to $14 per hour.

Council also has considered creating a two-officer traffic patrol.

Municipal Manager Michael Silvestri also said Fruecht has been having trouble filling the schedule, because of officers’ time off.

Meanwhile, the municipality is continuing to negotiate a new contract for the police, who this year became members of Teamsters Local 205. Their current contract ends in December. Union leaders say some patrol officers have filed grievances over disciplinary actions related to alleged abuse of sick time.


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