Police chief grooming future leadership

FLINT TWP. — Promotions are coming soon for two township police officers as a result of the May 2 retirement of Lt. Tim Jones.

The township board approved a request Monday from Police Chief George Sippert to obtain two candidate names from the Civil Service Commission. One sergeant will be promoted to lieutenant to replace Jones and one patrol officer will be promoted to fill the sergeant vacancy.

Jones departure leaves the department with only one lieutenant, Chief Sippert said. Two are essential in the command structure — one to oversee the field operations division and one to manage the special operations division.

Chief Sippert said he approached the personnel committee about six months ago to stress the important of grooming new leadership and maintaining first-line supervision in the department. Because of retirements, the department has loss 360 years of police experience since 2010, he said.

In the next five years, the department is facing further significant loss of experienced personnel, due to retirements. Young officers with less than five years of departmental experience make up fifty percent of the force, he said, stressing their need for experienced leadership and guidance.

“In 2004, when I was appointed Chief, the department employed four lieutenants,’’ he said. Now there are two budgeted.

To cut costs the number of sergeants also has been significantly reduced, he said.

At minimal staffing levels, it is difficult to allow time for sergeants to attend valuable training that typically last ten to eleven weeks, he said. Vacations and sick time also lead to overtime costs when supervisor staffing is low, he said.

“It is vital that members of the police department that possess the abilities and aptitude of leadership be provided opportunities to develop their skills and careers,’’ he said.

Typically, the Civil Service Commission supplies names by the next township board meeting, which is May 5.

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