Seligman police to increase weekly coverage in January

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Police chief delays plan to hire additional part-time officer

The Seligman Police Department plans to increase coverage from 80 hours to 94 hours per week, starting Jan. 1, 2015.

In 2014, the city has budgeted for a police chief and three part-time officers. Terry Burgess, Seligman police chief, works between 40 and 65 hours per month. Morgan Struble, Exeter police chief, works about 10 hours per week for Seligman. Officer Joseph Arnold works 30 hours per week. Mike Smith, a recent hire, works 30 hours per week, and Fernando Ortega is a reserve officer.

The department has budgeted 20 hours for Struble's position, Burgess said. In 2015, he wants to increase that position to 30 hours per week.

"We've already talked about this," he said. "He's expressed that he would like to stay as a reserve, regardless, and still come down to work his [drug] dog because he knows there is going to be more for his dog to do here than Exeter."

On Nov. 10, the Seligman Board of Alderman approved to expand the police coverage.

The 2014 police budget projects to have between $90,000 and $100,000 in revenue and nearly $89,000 in expenses, said Brian Nichols, Seligman city clerk. Burgess proposed a 2015 expense budget of $101,007. He delayed his plan to add a fourth part-time officer until about April.

If the plan turns out to be infeasible, Burgess said they will drive on from there.

Alderman Ron Corn said he does not want to get in a situation where the department has to reduce the workforce just after hiring a fourth officer.

Burgess agreed that would not be fair to that officer.

"I'm fine with taking baby steps to build this department," he said. "The town deserves a good department."

Burgess, who makes $500 per month, has requested the board increase his salary by $150 per month, starting on April 13, when his current employment contract ends.

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