Due to falling revenues, the Walled Lake Police Department has pared back on full-time staffing; but to combat the lack thereof, it has bolstered its part-time and auxiliary personnel.
“We’re establishing a pool,” said Police Chief Paul Shakinas. “We’ve cut back so much, but it comes down to salaries and benefits.”
The department is currently comprised of 10 full-time officers, seven part-timers and 12 auxiliary officers, according to Shakinas.
“We maintain two full-time officers (on duty) at all times, and on Fridays and Saturdays, we schedule three,” he said.
Auxiliary officers are essentially volunteers who receive uniforms and training.
“They do the work because they want to do it,” Shakinas said. “They help with special events and traffic control. They are extremely important to the department.”
These volunteers are only given authority through a certified officer, but according to City Manager L. Dennis Whitt, they are indispensable.
“Without their assistance, we wouldn’t be able to do what we normally do,” he said.
Part-timers come on board at a rate 10 percent less than the starting wage of a full-time officer.
“They receive no benefits, so it’s a huge savings — one-third of the cost for the same service,” Shakinas said.
New part-time officers receive $17.65 per hour. Seasoned veterans such as Paul Schneider and Robert McGhee net a higher rate of $22 per hour.
“The labor attorney allows us to work this group up to 38 hours per week — no overtime,” Shakinas said.
The part-time officers supplement full-time officers’ schedules.
“Our full-time officers couldn’t take the time off they earned, but now it’s working out like a charm,” said Deputy Chief Bruce Kirby.
Typically part-time personnel have primary jobs in tandem with their rotations with the Walled Lake Police Department, and are able to work nights and weekends.
“We just can’t hand out the benefits and salaries of the past,” Shakinas said. “The academies are pumping out 40 candidates every year and only some get jobs.”
Whitt is currently negotiating the officers’ contract that expired June 30.