The city is planning to promote officers from within the department to cover high-ranking retirements that have happened recently.
Two police sergeants have retired since January, and there may be more retirements before the end of the year, said Ron Kim, commissioner of public safety.
Sgt. William Crandall retired in the last few months and Sgt. Warren Wildy will retire at the end of this month.
Crandall’s replacement, Tom Mitchell, was promoted from within the department to head the traffic department.
Kim said the retirements aren’t related to the city renegotiating the police contract this year.
Those who are hanging up the badge have served the department for between 20 and 30 years, he said. “The older part of the baby boom generation is starting to retire. You’re seeing that happen in our department.”
Since the beginning of 2006, 10 of the department’s 70 officers have retired, many of them high-ranking.
“I think we’ve had a complete turnover in all our lieutenants,” Kim said.
Promoting officers up the ranks has left vacancies in the patrol department, Kim said, meaning the city had to pay overtime for others to fill in.
“It takes us 15 months to take someone from the streets, so to speak, and turn them into a police officer.”
Since it’s anybody’s guess who will retire when, Kim said, he’s trying to plan for the future. “We’re trying to hire a few more positions with the anticipation that before the year’s out, we’ll have more retirements.”
So far, there have been enough people sitting for the civil service test that the city can pick the best qualified patrol officers, Kim said. “We weed out about 60 percent of those people.”
And he says that even as more baby boomers retire from the ranks, Saratoga Springs will have an edge in hiring new cops because it’s a nice place to live and the pay is about average compared to other departments. “We’ve got a lot of people who grew up here,” Kim said.
The city has no residency requirement for its police officers, so new cops who start out at $33,358 don’t have to pay Saratoga housing prices. After police come out of the police academy, their pay increases to $36,878.
Dispatchers are becoming tougher to hire, Kim said, because of the working conditions and low pay. “We have just raised their pay to parity with the [Department of Public Works] dispatchers.”
Officers who have retired in the last two years include: Assistant Chief Jim Cornick, Lt. Mike Salisbury, Lt. Gary Forward, Lt. Gary Perkins, Sgt. Mike Kyne, Sgt. Dan Mullan, Sgt. Will Crandall, Investigator Russ Terpening, and patrolmen Mike Rayburn and Chris Ozolins.
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