FLINT TWP. — The unexpected resignation of a township police officer after only year of service has the township board looking for sterner measures to ensure future hires stick around longer.
At the township board meeting Monday night, Police Chief George Sippert said the resignation of Ofc. Steven Reed on April 29 reduced current staffing level to 34 sworn officers — one less than the 35 budgeted for.
Reed was hired in April 2010 and left to accept a position in his hometown at the City of Warren Police Department.
To replace Reed, the board authorized Sippert to make a conditional offer of employment for an entry level position to the next candidate on the Civil Service Commission eligibility list. If all goes according to plan, Sippert said he hoped to complete a background check and preemployment tests and have a candidate ready for board approval at its next meeting.
A board discussion followed about the need to improve retention of officers that the township has spent money and time to train.
“We trained him and put out all kinds of money towards him being a good officer and now he’s going to be a wonderful officer for Warren,’’ said Sandra Wright, board treasurer. She suggested adding a contract stipulation that officers remain at least two years after hire.
Sippert said he was bothered by the loss also but legal remedies take time.
“I agree with you 100 percent that it causes stress on the department and a financial strain,’’ he said, but added that long-term solutions have to be worked out within the civil service hiring process.
Township Supervisor Karyn Miller asked where Reed lived and if he had left a family in Warren while working in Flint Township.
Sippert said Reed was single and had rented an apartment locally during his service.
Miller said another approach to improving retention might be to look into including a residency clause in future officer contracts.
Trustee George Menoutes asked about the possibility of including a requirement that those who stay less than two years would have to reimburse the township for its training costs.