The city council approved the reorganization of the Paterson Police Department which increases the number of captains by 4, decreases number of sergeants by 20, decreases lieutenants by 4, and creates 18 police assistant positions, according to the ordnance rejiggering the police table of organization.
Police chief William Fraher said the reorganized table of organization will “streamline” and create a “more logical chain of command.” He said the aim of the reorganization is also to eliminate out-of-title pay.
The 18 police assistant jobs will be filled by city residents, said Fraher. He compared the police assistant program to an apprenticeship. The 18 will be hired at an entry level police salary of $33,807. The recruits will spend a year in the police department learning about policing and then be promoted to the rank of police officer, said the chief.
Policing is not for everyone, said the chief, so not every recruit will become a police officer at the end of the one year.
“It’s a good entry path to policing,” said Fraher. “It’s a step on the rung to the middle class.” Council members agreed with the chief.
“This is a great deal,” said Michael Jackson, 1st Ward councilman, chairman of the public safety committee. “This will guarantee 18 new potential cadets every year.”
“It’s an important vehicle to bring on local staff that we can ensure are from the community,” said council president William McKoy.
When will the city start hiring the police assistants? asked Alex Mendez, councilman at-large. Police director Jerry Speziale said the application process will take 90 days. There is also the background and psychological checks, he said.
Speziale reckoned it will take six months before an individual can be brought on as a police assistant.
Kenneth Morris, councilman at-large, asked whether there are safeguards in place to prevent out-of-towners from snatching the police assistant jobs. He asked whether the applicant is required to show he attended a Paterson high school.
Speziale said the hiring will be done through civil service. He indicated there will not be such requirement.
The addition of new captain slots will also help high ranking local residents in the police officers to climb up, according to officials.
The revised police table of organizations is as follows:
- One police chief
- Three deputy chiefs
- 11 captains
- 32 lieutenants
- 82 sergeants
- 475 police officers
- 50 special police officers.
There are 382 police officers at present, said Fraher.
Council members preliminarily approved the table of organization changes on Wednesday night. A public hearing and final vote on the ordinance is scheduled for Tuesday, November 22nd, 2016.