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Police seek dispatcher to cut costs of overtime

Maumee Police Chief Robert Zink said he wants to a hire a new dispatcher next year, which could "make a good dent" in reducing overtime expenses.

Chief Zink presented to Maumee City Council last week as the council develops its spending plan for 2012.

As of October, the department has spent $348,400 of its budgeted $400,000 overtime cost for the year, the city's finance department said.

In 2010, the police department spent $361,314 on overtime.

Not having enough dispatchers on staff has been a main reason for the increase in overtime, the chief said.

The staffing problems began when a dispatcher retired in 2009, leaving the department with 10 dispatchers instead of a full staff of 11, he said.

Hiring a dispatcher, who would be paid about $40,000, likely would save the city that same amount on overtime costs, finance director Linda Wilker said last Monday at the city council meeting. Some dispatchers are overburdened and work seven days a week, Ms. Wilker said, which concerned several council members about fatigue on the job.

"Having another dispatcher eliminates that burden," she said.

Staffing has been an issue in other areas of the department as well.

The police department has not filled the positions of two employees who retired in 2010 and early 2011.

To put more police officers on the street, the city downsized the DARE program in Maumee City Schools and local private schools and pulled a school-resource officer from Gateway Middle School last year. The department has 43 sworn officers.

Also at last Monday's meeting, the council unanimously approved a one-year contract with the Fraternal Order of Police. The contract calls for a 3 percent salary boost in 2012 for about 50 employees. It also will require the union employees to pay 15 percent of their health-care premium, up from 10 percent.

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