Lisbon committee to suggest more cops

LISBON–Village Council’s finance committee intends to recommend the police chief be allowed to hire two additional full-time officers so the department can go to four 10-hour shifts as a way to provide more coverage, while reducing reliance on part-time officers.

The committee will also recommended a 3 percent pay raise be granted all village employees in 2018.

Police Chief Mike Abraham has been having difficulty keeping part-time officers, who often leave for full-time jobs or better paying part-time positions. While he does not blame them for taking a full-time job, the village is out the money spent on their training and uniforms.

“It’s such a revolving door with part-timers and it’s costing us money, and they don’t even last a month” in some instances, Abraham said.

There are currently seven full-time officers, which includes Abraham and an officer assigned to the Columbiana County Drug Task Force. Increasing the number of officers to nine and going to 10-hour shifts would go a long way toward solving his staffing problems. It would also create shift overlap and result in three officers on duty for several hours at a time.

“It will put more people on the street at the same time,” he said.

The part-time officers provide about 100 hours of coverage per pay. Replacing most of those hours with two more full-time officers would result in a net increase to the village of $35,000 to $40,000 in 2018, according to Fiscal Officer Tracey Wonner.

Abraham intends to work a 10-hour shift four days a week, at least initially. “If I need to work an extra day I will,” he said. “It may be hard for me to be off three days (every week) … If I see that is a problem I may go back to working eights.”

As for pay raises, the last across-the board increase was in in 2014, and Abraham initiated the discussion by asking council to provide his officers with a raise. Wonner said the finance committee decided to recommend council-as-a-whole enact a 3 percent pay raise, which she estimated will cost the village $27,000 in 2018.

“We should still be able to do what we want to do” in terms of street projects, Wonner said, despite the additional $62,000 to $67,000 in additional costs due to the extra officers and pay raises.

Wonner had talked about asking council to create annual cost-of-living pay raises of 1-2 percent for all village employees, and then granting additional merit raises as recommended by department heads. That is a discussion she still intends to have with council sometime in the future.