FLINT TWP. — A township police officer soon will be promoted to sergeant to fill a need for more experienced supervisors, at the request of Police Chief George Sippert.
At its April 2 meeting, the township board authorized Sippert to request an eligible candidate for promotion from the Civil Service Commission. The budgeted position is open due to recent retirements of several senior officers, Sippert said.
“We are down to the bare bones of supervisors,’’ Sippert said, in his request.
Since Jan. 2010, the department has lost 346 combined years of police experience due to retirements and the death of one detective, he said.
More than 50 percent of current patrol officers have less than 31/2-years experience, therefore it is vital to provide experienced leadership to these young officers, he said.
Among their duties, supervisory officers play a crucial role in performance evaluations and also take charge in critical incidents, Sippert said.
Five sergeants are the minimum necessary for supervision in a round-the-clock police operations and not having a supervisory officer on duty at all times can have undesirable consequences, he said.
Following the retirement in March of Sgt. Norman Loranger, the department’s remaining sergeants fell below the critical level, he said. That number also is down by half from a high of 8 in 2004 when Sippert became police chief, he said.
Likewise, the department now has two lieutenants down from four in 2004. Sippert said he reduced the numbers of supervisory officers over the past three years in an effort to control costs.
He said he hoped to submit the name of the chosen officer for board approval at its April 16 regular meeting.