Kudos to the Waterford Township Police Department’s patrol officers and dispatchers represented by the Michigan Association of Police Officers (MAP) for bucking the norm and agreeing to the use of part-time, hourly personnel to bolster their ranks.
An agreement between the Waterford Township Board of Trustees and the MAP union approved on Aug. 28 will lead to a 30-percent hike in part-time officers patrolling township streets. The new part-time officers will be drawn from the ranks of currently laid-off Waterford officers and those laid off from other communities, as well as retired police. These officers will be compensated on an hourly basis and will not receive any benefits. They will be deployed strictly for street patrol.
Under the terms of the agreement the township can hire part-time officers at the rate of one part-time to three full-time officers.
Similarly, Waterford dispatchers, who also are represented by MAP, have agreed to the hiring of part-time dispatchers at a significant savings to the township.
The union members made the concession due to the financial hardship the township is facing. Waterford Township Supervisor Carl Solden characterized the pact as being unique, stating that the concept has been rejected by unionized employees in other communities.
Fred Timpner, executive director of the Michigan Association of Police, backs up that notion, stating that the use of part-time officers who don’t receive benefits is typically viewed by union members as being “objectionable.” He said local MAP members believed the concessions were the best way to provide appropriate police protection in Waterford.
According to Solden, several previously enacted cost-saving moves within the Police Department make the unusual pact affordable. In addition, the department is expected to see lower overtime costs as a result of using more part-time personnel, thereby freeing up money to pay new part-time patrol officers and dispatchers.
We suspect this relatively novel agreement to put more officers on the street will improve public safety and service in Waterford. A greater police presence bodes well for crime deterrence and quicker response times for all kinds of calls for service or help — from accident calls that can be handled by part-time officers to more serious needs that can be addressed by full-time officers who won’t be spread quite so thin.
Thank you, Waterford police officers and dispatchers, for putting the community ahead of professional interests.