By Kim Walter -- firstname.lastname@example.org
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.