The Collinsville Police Department expects to save the city $63,000 annually, under a newly approved project.
The police reorganization plan was presented to the Collinsville City Council Monday by Collinsville Police Chief Eric Van Hook.
The reorganization gives the police force a total of 43 patrol officers, one fewer than the budgeted 44 sworn officers. Although there is one fewer sworn officer under the reorganization plan, there will be two additional patrol officers on the streets. In addition, the plan should give the department the ability for "greater shift coverage" which, in turn, will reduce overall overtime logged by officers, according to Van Hook.
The council unanimously approved the plan that is expected to save the city money without compromising the police force or eliminating any current personnel. The savings are expected to be the result of money saved in salaries and benefits and achieved by hiring a civilian, eliminating a sergeant's position and promoting a current sergeant to a fourth lieutenant's position.
Since April 2012 the department has lost four sworn officers, two due to retirement, one resignation and one termination. Patrolman Luke Tillman was terminated due to a pending court case and arbitration. The department is operating with 41 of the budgeted 44 sworn officers.
The reorganization eliminates a sergeant's position, which was left vacant in November when Sgt. William Berger retired, and adds a fourth lieutenant position, by promoting Sgt. Brett Boerm. There is a lieutenant assigned to the investigations bureau and two assigned to the patrol division.
Berger is still with the department as a civilian. While he was with the force, Berger headed the crime free housing unit and earned $77,292 annually. He rejoined the department as a civilian employee and now earns $40,000 annually as the crime free housing unit coordinator. That move resulted in a savings to the city of $59,000 in both salary and benefits.
During the city council meeting Van Hook said the lieutenant promotion would eliminate Boerm's overtime and holiday pay, which has cost the city about $5,000 each year. By promoting Boerm, a sergeant's position will open and the plan is to hire two new police officers effective Jan. 1.
Contact reporter Jennifer A. Schaaf at firstname.lastname@example.org or 618-239-2667.