The city is reorganizing its police command structure by increasing the number of police captains – third highest rank after deputy chief — by four, according to city records.
This will increase number of captains to 11 from 7. The revamped table of organization also calls for reduction of lieutenants to 32 from 36. Number of sergeants will be reduced to 62 from 80, according to the revised table.
Police will also have a new rank called police assistant, an entry level position to allow for an alternative route to becoming an officer. An individual hired as a police assistant will graduate to become a police officer after a year of training, said police chief William Fraher on Tuesday night.
“This is a career path,” said mayor Jose “Joey” Torres about the new police assistant rank.
“We’re looking to make things more efficient,” said Fraher. He said the expansion of the captains rank will allow for better supervision of police officers. Fraher said most major divisions within the Paterson Police Department like narcotics, street crime, training division, and technical field operations are headed by captains.
There’s a need to place a captain to oversee the police Internal Affairs which investigates complaints against officers, said the chief. He said the revamped command will also allow for more training for the officers.
Increasing the number of police captains, whose salaries are estimated at $168,000, according to the chief, could increase spending, said Kenneth Morris, councilman at-large. When he asked the mayor whether this will increase the police budget the mayor responded it’s “awash.”
Michael Jackson, 1st Ward councilman, who is the chairman of the public safety committee, said this will not increase police expenditure. Morris pointed out the police salaries and wage line in the introduce budget is increasing from the previous year.
Police budget is being increased from $41.7 million to $43.8, according to budget documents. The number of regular police officers in the table of organization is remaining unchanged at 475.
At present, the police department has 374 police officers, said Fraher.