North Park wants another cop
NORTH LOGAN -- A new police officer for the North Park Police Department could bring more than law enforcement -- he or she could bring a balance to North Logan's 2003 budget.
The department won't know for sure if it will be getting a new officer until July at the latest, when both North Logan and Hyde Park will have put into place their fiscal budgets for the upcoming year. Although the two cities are not suffering a rash of criminal activity, a new officer for the police department that serves them seems warranted.
"I think it's important," said North Logan Mayor Val Potter, "mostly for scheduling issues."
North Park rarely pays officers overtime, opting instead to give compensation time.
At the North Logan City Council meeting on April 18, North Park Chief Kim Hawkes said most of the calls his officers respond to are between 2 and 10 p.m., and if an officer is sick or on vacation another officer has to fill in. The replacement officer could work and rack up the hours and be forced to take compensation time as opposed to the time and a half.
"Demands don't go down just because we're understaffed," Hawkes said.
Even the department's reserve officers aren't a clear solution.
"North Park is the only agency [in Cache County] to pay reserves," North Park Officer Shawn Bennett said.
Bennett is one of seven full-time police officers currently employed by North Park Police Department. There are five reserve officers. The reserves work mostly weekends according to Bennett which still leaves shifts during the week unaccounted for.
"This may come back to bite us," Potter said. "We just don't have the manpower."
He gave an example of an officer that might need to take two weeks off in compensation hours and the department would be shorthanded during that time.
The North Logan City Council seems ready to hire the new officer.
"We're just waiting for Hyde Park," Potter said. Both cities aim to have their fiscal 2003 budgets complete by July. "They're like us, they've got a few months to work everything out."
Bennett is optimistic about the hiring of a new officer. "It's looking good," he said.