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Police Union Says Money for Supervisors Would Be Better Spent Patrolling L.B.

June 01, 1986|DARYL KELLEY | Times Staff Writer

LONG BEACH — Police Chief Charles B. Ussery has added four administrative positions to the department, prompting a charge from the president of the police officers' union that at least 10 more patrol officers could have been put on the streets with the money that will be spent on the new posts.

Ussery said the increase of top Police Department administrators from 15 to 19 "provides more effective leadership and control and strengthens the whole organization because it will ultimately increase productivity and performance."

But Douglas Drummond, president of the Long Beach Police Officers' Assn., said the addition of two deputy chiefs and two commanders will cost $500,000 annually. He said it makes no sense in a department that probably was already "the most top-heavy in the western United States."

"Any way you cut it, we've got so many high-ranking officers that we can't believe it," said Drummond. "More generals will make more paper, and it's more field officers that we need."

High Ratio of Administrators

With one chief, five deputy chiefs, 10 commanders and three captains to oversee 634 sworn officers, Long Beach's administrator-to-officer ratio is 1 to 33, and is much higher than in the state's other large cities, said Drummond.

Los Angeles, for example, has a ratio of 1 to 76, San Francisco 1 to 66, San Diego 1 to 55, and San Jose 1 to 72, he said. Even with an expected increase of 41 officers for the 1986-87 fiscal year, the Long Beach ratio will be only 1 to 35.5, Drummond said.

"We have more narcotics problems than we can handle, more burglary problems than we can handle, more street crime problems than we can handle. And those are the areas I suspect the citizen would really want to have addressed," Drummond said.

Ussery has paid for the new positions with unspent money from this year's budget; they are included in the proposed Police Department budget, which is part of a larger municipal spending plan the City Council is scheduled to consider June 10 and must adopt by July 1. Drummond said he would not testify before the council about the new positions.

Included in Negotiations

Drummond said, however, that discussion of the new jobs had been included in negotiations between the officers' union and the city, and he thought the issue would be resolved at the bargaining table and not in a "surprise" announcement by the department. The union formally protested creation of the new positions in an April letter to Ussery, he said.

Ussery said he didn't want to say much about Drummond's assertions. "I don't like to play this game at all," he said. He said he was concerned that an important improvement in Police Department administration might be overshadowed by a much less significant quarrel with the police union. He said he didn't think the new positions had been discussed in bargaining and certainly were not a big issue.

Ussery said he didn't know if the new positions and their perquisites carry a $500,000 price tag, as Drummond maintains. And he said he did not know how the administrator-to-officer ratio of his department compares with other cities.

The chief said that he decided to add the positions because top administrators were being pulled in too many directions.

"This will strip away a lot of the peripheral obligations," Ussery said. "For example, it will let our patrol bureau (executives) concentrate on providing the basic services to the citizens," he said.

New Responsibilities Added

Until this week, the department had only three bureaus--patrol, investigations and administrative operations--and each was run by a deputy chief. Ussery has added chiefs to run an executive operations bureau and an auxiliary support bureau.

Executive operations will handle community relations, officer training, internal affairs and organized crime responsibilities. Auxiliary support will administer the jail, police communications, the traffic division, the tactical weapons unit and other special units.

"The combination of these elements (in the two new bureaus) is of such significance that it required the leadership of a deputy chief," Ussery said.

While creating the new positions, Ussery announced six related promotions: Eugene J. Brizzolara, 47, was promoted from patrol bureau commander to deputy chief, patrol bureau; David A. Dusenbury, 46, was promoted from commander to deputy chief, executive operations bureau; Alvin Van Otterloo, 41, was promoted from lieutenant to a newly created commander's position in the community relations division; Danny L. Reynolds, 41, was promoted from lieutenant to a newly created commander's position in the special services division; Robert M. Luman, 39, was promoted from lieutenant to commander of a shift in the patrol bureau, and Ray E. Jordan, 40, was promoted from lieutenant to commander, criminal investigations division.

Charles W. Clark, already a deputy chief, has been shifted from the patrol bureau to the new auxiliary support bureau.

When combined, these moves will cost more than $500,000 in a proposed department budget of $77.7 million, Drummond said. Salaries for the six promoted officers will be greatly increased, pension and medical benefits adjusted, automobiles will be made available, more office space required and secretaries provided for the deputy chiefs, he said.

Ussery did not specifically refute Drummond's estimate, but did say that offices will be provided for in existing space and no new cars will be purchased for their use.

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