BROWNSTOWN — A Brownstown Police Department officer’s recent transfer to another local department drops the force to seven.
Plus, no lateral transfers were in the most recent applicant pool from when the department was approved to go from eight officers to nine at the beginning of 2022.
That led to town officials reassessing the personnel and pay matrix.
Brownstown Town Councilman Tim Robinson, who serves as a liaison to the police department, said the total salary budget for 2022 was approved at $445,000, which included the ninth officer and overtime built in.
When he calculated the current salaries and added the ninth officer at the current starting pay, he came up with $434,291.
“Looking at the new matrix and going from nine officers to eight officers, I feel that we can come in with a new pay matrix,” Robinson said to the council during a recent meeting as he shared a chart showing the proposed matrix for 2022.
“It’s still coming in under the budget of $445,000,” he said. “The key to that is going to be the overtime, staffing that. … The overtime would be the big concern that we’ll have to control.”
Under Robinson’s proposal, a patrol officer who has completed the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy would start at $50,000, while it would be $45,000 for someone without the academy. Currently, the annual starting pay is $41,715.
For a lateral hire, the 20-year pay matrix would range from $50,000 to $61,010.
Council President Gregg Goshorn asked Police Chief Tom Hanner if the proposed change would make the department more competitive in receiving lateral applicants.
“This certainly will help,” Hanner said. “You’ve got to find that one person that wants to come to a small town. That’s what we want.”
Hanner also said the new pay matrix would help him keep the officers he currently has.
“Hopefully, if this would come through, we would be able to retain officers and hopefully attract an eighth officer, as well,” Goshorn said.
Goshorn then asked the council if it wanted to act on the updated pay matrix and reducing the police staff to eight. Robinson made a motion, Sharon Koch seconded and it passed 4-0. Councilman Mark Reynolds was absent.
Along with the new starting salary and 20-year pay matrix, the new officer hired will receive $1,500 for a clothing and equipment allowance, PERF 1977 retirement paid 100% by the town, a take-home vehicle with off-duty use in Jackson County only, paid vacations, sick days, personal days, health insurance paid 100% by the town for officer only or 75% for a family plan and supplemental retirement offered.
The day after the meeting, the police department posted on Facebook that it’s extending accepting applications for a full-time officer until 4 p.m. Dec. 10. The requirements and perks are explained in the post.
During the meeting, Hanner said it’s preferred to hire a lateral transfer.
Non-ILEA certified applicants must be able to successfully complete a written exam, a physical assessment and a background investigation prior to an offer of employment. They also will be required to attend the academy’s Tier 1 basic training.