City amends police ordinance, seeks to hire more officers
By Joe Bachman
STEVENS POINT — City officials want to add more officers to the force, and took a step on Monday night to do so.
Personnel committee members amended an ordinance limiting the number of law enforcement staff to 49, as well as getting rid of a numerical designation which will allow more freedom in hiring more police.
In effect, the new language restructures the department’s personnel as needed to allow for more hires in needed areas. This allows the Police and Fire Commission to set an authorized level of sworn personnel for local police, though funding and approvals will still be determined by the common council.
The proposed update states:
“The relative rank in positions of officers of the department shall be numerically designated per the Chief of Police and shall consist of no more than 49 sworn personnel to include 1 Chief of Police”
Police Chief Martin Skibba pointed out that the department well below the needed personnel of 49, according to a recent study done on department staffing and public safety needs.
“The idea of continually coming back to council to approve something that operational police and fire commission can have authority over seemed redundant, and not making a lot of sense,” said Skibba to personnel members.