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HUNTINGTON BEACH : City to Hire 6 Officers, Sergeant, Field Staffer

October 24, 1994|DEBRA CANO

Instead of assigning eight new police officers to patrol duties, the City Council has decided to use two of the positions to add a field service police officer and a sergeant to the force.

Police Chief Ronald E. Lowenberg made the recommendation not to hire all eight patrol officers, and the City Council this week agreed to his plan.

The council recently voted to spend $623,000 to hire the additional officers, which will improve response times.

Lowenberg said the mix of personnel will better serve the community while adding police on the streets and providing leadership and supervisorial support.

Lowenberg said the department has had a below-average ratio of supervisors to patrol officers.

The current staffing has a total of 18 squads with 16 sergeants supervising them. This leaves two patrol squads without a sergeant, he said.

Lowenberg said the field service officer is a civilian position whose duties include crime-scene investigation, evidence gathering and handling some police calls, such as a residential burglary.

He said it is a cost-effective method for freeing additional police officer time for patrol and emergency responses.

Lowenberg's plan leaves about $70,000 unspent the first year. But he said the money will be used to buy new uniforms and safety equipment and pay overtime for the additional officers.

Lowenberg said because of anticipated vacancies due to retirements, a selection process was already scheduled for early November. "We'll fill most of those (new) positions in the next few months," he said.

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