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Budget cuts identified to fund Master Police Officer program


By Kim Walter -- kwalter@nvdaily.com

FRONT ROYAL -- At their Monday night work session, town council came up with several budget cuts that would bring the police department closer to implementing both Master Police Officer and Senior Dispatcher programs.

Officers believe the programs will allow the town to retain officers and other employees, after losing three officers in the last year.

It's estimated that $45,000 is needed for the officer program, while $15,000 would be necessary for the dispatcher program.

The programs would make officer and employee salaries better reflect the individual's performance and time spent with the town.

After council's last work session, possible cuts were pointed out that total $67,700. Some major cuts include $20,000 from vehicle funding, $10,000 from tourism advertising, and $14,500 that would have upgraded the crime prevention specialist position from part-time to full-time employment.

Chief Richard Furr and Deputy Chief Mark Werner objected to the cut from the crime prevention specialist position.

"Our crime prevention program is a model for the state," Furr said. "I'm afraid if [the upgrade] is put off, we're going to lose a valuable employee."

Janice Hart, a certified crime prevention specialist, has been with the town's police department since 2005 when she began volunteering. In 2007 she was hired as a community relations specialist.

"She puts in a lot more time than just part-time," Werner said.

"I would rather put off vehicle purchases in order to better serve our employees," Furr said, suggesting cuts from other areas.

Other cuts from the police department that would help fund the retention programs include eliminating two day shift lieutenant positions for a total savings of $16,100.




29 Comments



Let me get this straight, you're going to cut programs in the police department to make programs to retain and attract officers??? How does that work? Pretty soon, ALL the officers will have to ride bicycles and no programs will be available to the citizens. What's it going to take for the Town of Front Royal to treat its police department as a professional organization? Keep going on this route and soon you'll be hiring more than just a few officers!!! And to think that just a few short weeks ago, there was sooooo much grandstanding about taking care of the police department. Glad I don't have to deal with it.......what a joke!

Let's see....a couple of weeks prior to the election it seemed there was funding for a program that would allow the Police Department to retain experienced officers. Everyone is happy, pat the Town Manager on the back, shake the hands of the council members for such a smart move in these tough times. Fast forward...week after the elections..sorry but if you want a Master Police Program you must sacrifice other members of the department. I hope the powers that be at the Police Department are up in arms about this little ploy and make their voices heard to the Town Council.

Consolidate WCSO and FRPD. Economies of scale would save the residents of both the County and the Town. It would also provide more opportunities for officers, improved specialized units and greater professionalism.

Get past the politics and the power struggles. Jacksonville, FL and Las Vegas law enforcement consolidations were and are very successful. We really don't need two agencies.

Which one would you choose to go with? A County Wide Sheriff department with an elected Sheriff? Or would you go with a County Wide Police Department with an Appointed Chief of Police?

What a great idea! Consolidation of the two police agencies will be a glowing Republican endorsement for frivolous spending and robbing Peter-to-pay-Paul white-collar crime sprees. Oh joy!

At last that 3-wheeled gizmo, the $8,000 T-3 Motion could be used to NOT patrol the Main Street and Gazebo area, exactly like it does NOT patrol the 522 corridor shopping centers.

Let us not forget everybody's favorite example of what department consolidation will bring to the community... the permanently-in-storage-$5,000-per-year-maintenance, "free" $273,000 Lenco Bearcat Armored Personnel Carrier/Tank desperately needing deployment to confront the daily riots and civil uprisings in those parts of Front Royal that are almost continuously on fire due to civil unrest disturbances.

Agency consolidation means Sheriff McEathron will drool uncontrollably on his white shirt anticipating the Bearcat being used to bulldoze into living rooms full of drug crazed mentally imbalanced perpetrators, rescuing the little children held as hostages. Glory! Prestige! Recognition! Grandeur! Adulation! Bigger hats! And $5,000 a year maintenance costs to keep the Bearcat "ready". Between Warren and nearby rival Strasburg (no Bearcats, but they have a combat-ready tactical squad armed with machine guns), let Abdullah raise his terrorist head and he'll get it just like Whack-A-Mole.

Don't forget Furr clone Danny-Boy spent thousands of sheriff department dollars for high school driver education items that were school board funding responsibilities. Republicans keep us safe... and broke.

Voters suggested that Warren create a real police department and sheriffs be stripped of law enforcement duties, to handle only court-related tasks like screening courthouse visitors for nail clippers, maintaining the courtroom's "no hats" decorum , and suicide watching over jailbirds. Now Front Royal wants to do the exact opposite, replacing police with sheriffs? Republicans are dangerous when they try to think.

Elected by voters, Warren Sheriff Daniel McEathron, sounding a bit defensive and testy, said: "A person who ... doesn't think we need something like this[the Bearcat] is a fool." "Some of these people don't have a clue what they're talking about." ... . "Ain't nobody going to militarize one sheriff."

Clueless fools vote, perhaps explaining how clueless politicians are forced out of office.

Now, which clueless politician has the answer for the Afton Inn sitting right next door to the $2,000,000 spent for town office space?


Somebody we all know and love recently asked our clueless politicians for answers to the Afton Inn problem. We, the unwashed citizenry, are in dire need. Who can we turn to for answers? Surely we must consult with someone who is just a little bit more awesome than everybody else?

EUREKA !!!! I know just such a person whose modesty prevents him from telling us just how great he really is. (cough cough)

Grand Poobah Tederick is currently not busy doing anything useful until the next election when once again the market for poisoned pens will reach a profitable level... let's ask him to solve the Afton Inn problem. Give him a budget of, oh, say, $2,000,000 and re-convene the one-man Blue Ribbon Committee? We need a steady finger poised above the big red button.

Hey Wacko, it's a little early to be into the sauce, isn't it. Fueling the above two incoherent rants could be extremely hard on your liver.

Some on here need to find something to do with their time. Shoot, since they know so much, maybe they should try to do something useful with alllllllll that knowledge...Of course, liberals just like to keep stirring the pot for no reason!! Please put down ur occupy sign and do something useful!!

The usual gaggle of republican runts are in a sputtering tizzy... the "grand poobah" gets no respect. Sic 'em Whacko! Make their ears bleed and I'll buy the next round of adult beverages for you and some pink drinks with those little umbrellas for your growing hordes of republican secret admirers.

Bwaaaahhhhhh hahahahahahahaha

Another liberal wacko comes out of the closet!! Yall are so funny!! ROFLMAO!!!

WOW! Unbelievable.... unfortunately NOT. Just like the pre-election article about funding for the master police officer program and police officer retention, the comments have quickly gone off-topic and turned into a political debate. Perhaps you people should just find or create some sort of local politics chat room, in which you can go back and forth with/at each other.
Sword and Daffodil have hit the nail on the head. Pre-election, support for funding this program was of utmost importance... post-election, it's "look out for yourselves, PD". How outrageous the quick 180 is.
Unquestionably, the police department will continue to lose officers if the town does not step up and recognize the necessity for this program. How ridiculous is it that the men and women that are risking their lives to protect us are not important enough for the town to make their retention a priority?
I wonder, if the police department's patrol staffing is in such need of officers, who is working to protect us? My guess is that the officers left are picking up the slack... how sad that they would be spending additional time away from their families and putting themselves at risk for a town that does not care enough about retaining them to reallocate the necessary funding.

perhaps Mr. Burke should cancell the new vehicles he plans to purchase (and drive, w/17"wheels) and give the money to the PD since he will not be around very much longer.............go new council...........

Which town employees have take-home town vehicles?

Which county employees have take-home county vehicles?

Why?

Jocko, did you really think that all of a sudden this Council would be any smarter after the election. They are continuing to handle the issues of the town that most likely got several of them not to be re elected. I agree with the previous poster that it would be logical to just stop the new vehicles to the Town manager and finance dept. That could shift about $36k toward funding the police master program. I sure that the balance needed can be found. At the last work session , there seemed to be more concern by some members of Council to fund the budget for Town shirts for the Councilman than for finding money for the police programs. If you don't believe me, then call down to Town Hall and get a copy of the meeting minutes and read for yourself.

Just to clarify, this is not a budget cut, it is a reallocation.

The Town has never looked at its police department as a professional organization. It groups town employees into one single category. In the eyes of the council, police are interchangable with every other employee of the town. Additionally the costs of the the perpetual revolving door is far more costly than funding for a master police officer program. From a management perspective, you would have to factor in the cost of bringing on a new police officer versus what it takes (financially) to retain the continuity of the experienced officers already at the disposal of the department. How long does it take to have an officer that is capable of doing what they do on a reasonable and competant basis? Having no background in that job, I imagine it doesn't happen overnight. Not to mention the overall impact of an ever changing and limitless number of new faces in our town police department. As a frequent flyier in the Main Street Business coridor, I can't remember seeing or speaking to our local boys in blue and being told they have been here more than 3 to 5 years. As a tax payer I am a little disgusted that we can't take enough reasonable care of our police for them to want to stay here, and instead we are training officers at the expense of the tax payer, just so they can take that training to serve at another agency. Shame on you Mr. Burke and Town Councilmen. For having backgrounds in business, you make some really poor decisions.

Exactly, part of wise leadership is having the discernment to see where will the community benefit the most by your decisions. We all make wrong decisions but the real sign of leadership is our ability to correct these decisions when you realize it. Cancel the cars , shift the money to help the police dept and catch the TM and finance dept cars on next,s year budget

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The police dept is like any other business. if you don't take care of your employees, they will find somewhere else to work. it is very simple. the police are what make this dumpy little town appear to be safe. there are idiots out there breaking into over 20 homes, a crazy sovereign that wants to execute people that infringe upon his rights, an idiot breaking into trains and cracks heads galore. take a look at the work load of the police. sit in on term day in circuit court and see the indictments. do you really want your safety in the hands of those that are satisfied with no prospects of being rewarded for quality work. i say no. you get what you pay for.

The bottom line is exactly that. The established talent will have options outside this smelly little valley. The citizens will suffer over the long run, while they are forced to contend with a deparment full of rookie cops, trianed by more rookie cops. Isn't that like the blind leading the blind? I thought this whole program was designed to retain police? Sure doesn't sound like it to me. The council agreed to fund the program, then changes their mind after the election and tries to put a political spin on the issue? Seroiusly? I know the usual residents of the North side of town probably inhailed a ton of avtex fumes and most likely have some long lasting effects from those fume, most notably their inabilty to comprehend such complex issues as saying one thing and doing another, but it doesn't take an advanced degree or much more than a 9th grade education to realize when your being led down the wrong path. This town had a horrible reputation in the past and if we ignore where we came from, we are undoubtedly headed back there in a big hurry.

I say we cut the police departments budget (like you all have for the past decade!) and plant more trees on Main Street (oh ooops, were the wrong trees planted the first time??) put up more curb and guttering, plant more petunias at the Gazebo, send 3 men to mow when there is only one mower, 4 men to mulch a park on Luray Avenue that is rarely used, and we should spend more money on consultations and study's that the Town Manager and Council rarely act on!!!!! Meanwhile, I will sit back and watch my neighbors house get broken into, I'll shrug my shoulders as another parent tells me that their 3 year old child was sexually assaulted, I'll turn around and walk away when a drunk kills the family of 4 that used to sit in front of me in church on Sundays - ALL BECAUSE STEVE BURKE AND THE COUNCIL CAN NOT PRIORITIZE EFFECTIVELY NOR USE AN OUNCE OF COMMON SENSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The retention of good town police officers is symptomatic of the problems resulting from the decades of Republican Good Old Boys in control of Front Royal and Warren County. The present local Republican Committee leadership is corrupt beyond redemption. The torch carriers today are Darr, Holloway, Tharpe, and Lauder on the Town Council, Carter and Traczyk on the Board of Supervisors, Clay Athey and Todd Gilbert in the state legislature, Biggs, Llewellyn, and Haynes on the EDA Board.... all Republicans, all in cahoots together, all pigging out face down in the trough of public largess.

Friends, the answer to the police retention problem will give Clay Athey the black eye he deserves......

The Problem:
Class warfare at the local level -- We Ain't Got No Money 'Cause The Good Old Boys Didn't Play Fair -- Remember the Blue Ribbon Committee, a.k.a. Awesome Tederick, misdirecting your attention by claiming it was a spending problem? Remember what you were thinking when you found out it was actually a revenue problem? Tip of the iceberg....

The Obvious Answer:
Increase tax revenue without increasing present rates on town residents -- Annex the 522 Corridor -- Solvent Days Are Here Again.

The Discussion About Voters Obstructing The Annexation Obstructionists:
Until now the answer to these chronic revenue shortage issues was being shortstopped by Clay Athey, Tony Carter, and Matt Tederick, in cahoots with their political protégé's, Cousin Holloway, Lauder, Darr, and Tharpe. -- Athey lost his seat, Holloway and Lauder lost the election, Tederick lost credibility, Darr lost his yes men, Tharpe and Carter will be the next election casualties. (Traczyk will retire without Carter around to tell him what to do)

The Men In White Hats:
The new council will be composed of 2 Good Old Boys, Tharpe and Funk (Funk is Athey's lackey and right-hand man surrogate on the Council) voting against 4 men wearing white hats, Tewalt, Hrbek, Sayre, and Parker (leaving Darr to sit on his hands even if Sayre finds a silly reason to miss the meeting).

The Proof Annexation Is The Proper Revenue Enhancement Solution to the Problem:
Walter M. Duncan's 30 page report, "Annex the Route 522 North Commercial Corridor into the Front Royal Corporate Limits".

You may obtain a copy of Mr. Duncan's report by emailing your request to him:

WMD928@AOL.COM


The Repercussions:
Athey looses face and may also loose any chance he entertained about becoming a judge, championed by Athey's law partner and one of our Virginia Delegates, Todd Gilbert, whose wrath Front Royal will suffer. Oh, there's going to be a big stink, you betcha. Gilbert needs to come crashing down off his high horse to learn a lesson what happens when the voters become irate.

Which one would you choose to go with? A County Wide Sheriff department with an elected Sheriff? Or would you go with a County Wide Police Department with an Appointed Chief of Police?

Really Mr. Ratigan no wonder you lost the election; any fool knows that the police arrest bad guys and the sheriff worries about good old boys vote..

Now on to the main topic the retention of experinced police is and should be the most important thing that an elected body should do. A governments number one priority is public safety. Once again the elected body of Front Royal will sit on their hands and wish that this retention problem will just go away. Shenandoah County just passed a budget that included a 4 cent tax increase, will people move out of the county due to the increase? NO they realize that to have services you have to pay for it. The elected body of Front Royal has squeezed the life out of a penny for 12 years... 13 cents on a hundred give me a break!!! you people are running the town on year 2000 money in 2012 what are you thinking about? The inability of this council to make any decisions other than what shirt to buy is insane.

If the councils idea of funding a retention program is to let other officers go, or take back a promise of full time from a part time employee, perhaps the FRPD should consider a strike until the council can understand what is a priority. Hint: Cars and Logo'd shirts aint it!

The boys on the town council NEED the logoed shirts because they're jealous that the Warren Supervisors have their own. At the next liason meeting they can discuss 100% cotton or a cotton blend instead of that troublesome annexation issue.

"Enough is Enough", what a thought! What would the council do if the police officers quit working for them and did go on strike? From what I understand, the town's officers spend a great deal of time working the councilmens' (and town manager's) complaints and concerns (however petty), at the sake of doing the crime-fighting they signed on for. T-shirts!?!? Really? Why in the WORLD would they want or need t-shirts? Ridiculous!
I have to say, thanks to the last commenters from the past 24 hours, who have kept the comments on point (rather than the ridiculous political back-and-forth that was occurring yesterday).

What's going to happen when the town has let every good officer go and the only candidates who apply are the ones who didn't cut it elsewhere? Do the town’s people want a subpar police force protecting them from the things that go bump in the night? I would like for the council to think about the safety of the general public and the livelihood of the Front Royal Police Officers. The employees of the police department and the town have done their part in covering for the economy but they are at the end of their financial ropes.

Ok, I know that the people in the general public consider the posters on this site to be a bunch of nuts . The only way we can get beyond this perception is for everyone that feels strongly about this issue and it's possible solutions to call the Mayor and Council members with their concerns. If we flood Town Hall with our calls of concern, then we might get this lame duck Council to do something by Monday's Council meeting. The number to Town Hall is 540 635 8007 or email at frontroyalva.com. If we do not put action behind our concerns then we are just another bunch of hot air wind bags. I will be the first to call my Councilman today. Councilman Sayre is very sensitive to calls from citizens.

Maggy, thats a thought...I wonder just what the council and others would do if TV3 showed up to cover a case of the "Blue Flu" in Front Royal.

Well, no one would get speeding tickets for that day, the 7-11's would shut their doors cos that would leave them wide open for robberies, yup, no one there to call when your kids feel threatened by a stranger at the bus stop...hmmmm....just how much do the townsfolk depend on the PD?

What an EMBARRASSING thought? Bet it would make the front page of the papers...and the results of their 'work sessions' and what their priorities are would be out there for all of Northern Virginia to see. Heck, I bet the DC stations would have coverage.

Hmmmm, very interesting indeed.

I worked once twenty years ago for a Fire District in another state that did exactly that. The Board of Directors would not listen to our concerns about the Chief and suspended him. So we (the members of the department) suspended our services until they met and listened to each and every one of us. Boy was it humiliating for them to have another agency have to cover for us....but guess what?

They met with us and listened...and our chief got re-instated! May be time for the guys and gals of the PD to take the proverbial bull by the horns here....just a thought....

It is a perfectly logical question. If someone is pushing for combining the two law enforcement agencies than the next question should be, Who is going to head it up and how that person be chosen either by election or Appointment? I fail to see why logical people haven't come up with this question before. Obviously you have no respect for the logical thought process. I know for a fact that I would rather have an elected Sheriff who answers to the voters rather then a Appointed one who answers to the whims of a Council.

Now Onto the real Problem.

Sallysunshineinfroro has a great idea. Call your councilmembers and demand some action. For starters look at Steve Burke in the eye and demand the he drop the 38,000.00 budget line so he and the finance office can drive around in new shiny cars. Then apply that amount to police deparment. If previous town managers can manage driving a retired police cruiser for town business then I guess the Finance Office and Steven Burke can do that same thing.



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