By Joe Beck
Front Royal police will be getting a new pay scale and career advancement opportunities under a restructuring unanimously approved by the Town Council on Monday night.
Chief Norman Shiflett said Tuesday the plan creates several new levels for police officers with pay based on factors such as seniority, training and community service. The goal, he said, is to provide incentives that will allow the department to recruit and retain the most able people.
Shiflett described the restructuring as following through on his effort to assess the department and make suitable changes after he replaced the retired Chief Richard H. Furr in late summer.
"When I took over this position, I said I would evaluate and assess the department, and I would make changes based on my assessments and my evaluations, and I think this is something that was much needed for this department," Shiflett said.
The restructuring also includes the addition of a new position of major. The major will serve as the No. 2 official in the department and fill in when the chief is gone, Shiflett said.
Shiflett said many police departments in communities smaller than Front Royal have majors filling their second highest positions. Shiflett was a major and second in charge in the Warren County Sheriff's Office before he was hired as Front Royal's chief.
"I'm moving forward with the department, and I wanted that position as part of my rank structure," he said.
Shiflett said the pay scale for the major will range from $56,534 to $90,334. He said he expects whomever is hired will earn somewhere toward the middle to low end of the range.
The restructuring also created four levels for police officers reflecting differing pay, qualifications and achievements.
The highest level will be master police officer with a pay range of $50,000 to $64,000, Shiflett said. The job requires eight years of active service. The master police officer must also hold the position of field training officer, a job that requires instruction of new recruits. A total of 56 hours of in-service training every two years also is required.
The new pay structure includes three lower levels for officers with less experience and training. Shiflett said the starting pay for a new officer joining the force with no experience will be $36,000, a $1,500 increase from the previous level.
Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or email@example.com