Staffing woes continue for MP police

By on January 9, 2009

by Lynn Meredith

Maple Park is once again searching for police officers to staff its department.

The village hired three part-time officers in August. Police Committee Chairman Erl Pederson announced at Tuesday’s Village Board meeting that one of those officers resigned and another will do so in the next 60 days.

Sergio Fuentes resigned on Tuesday after having been promoted to Sergeant in the Earlville Police Department. An increased workload and time commitments conflict with the hours he works for Maple Park.

Trustee Terry Borg is concerned that the village is losing officers so frequently.

“There doesn’t seem to be a strategy with the Police Department. It seems to be a revolving door,” Borg said. “Are we doing something different this time than last time, given that we just went through this?”

The Police Committee would need to run background checks on new candidates, and even though the cost is minimal, it takes time and effort.

“We go through a certain amount of grief in this process,” Village President Ross Dueringer said. “I can understand some hesitation, but we still need somebody to fill the hole.”

Dueringer suggested that the committee get a pool of police officer candidates to choose from when vacancies arise.

Three officers have completed the 90-day probation period, but the board voted to extend the probationary period for another 30 days to allow time for Police Department head Chuck Slater to write a report on how each officer has met expectations.

At the Feb. 3 meeting, the Village Board will take action either to extend probation, terminate employment or bring the officers on non-probationary status.