police officer discussion gets heated
A discussion regarding amendments to the
City of Platte Citys personnel policy became heated
The heat was turned up when aldermen were asked to adopt
a resolution in support of revisions to the citys
personnel rules and regulations involving the police department.
The proposed resolution asked for the
boards approval of two separate revisions.
The first was Section 4.130, which involves
special allowances and assignment pay for police officers.
The revisions stated that in addition to a police officers
base pay, the following special allowances shall be afforded:
each full time officer working at least 80 percent of
their regular work schedule on either the first or third
watch during a month, shall receive additional shift differential
pay of $25 per month.
Each full time officer who voluntarily
participates in the physical fitness test conducted by
the Platte City Police Department and passes as determined
by the chief of police will be awarded eight hours of
paid time off. The physical fitness test may be conducted
as frequently as prescribed by the chief; however no more
than 16 hours of paid time off shall be awarded to an
officer in any fiscal year.
I dont see why we should pay
them to keep physically fit and then pay them to get eight
hours off, said Alderman Ron Porter.
Alderman Melody Doescher agreed with Porter.
Im very adamant about it. I dont think
its the citys responsibility to pay them for
a physical and then pay them eight hours because they
took time off to take a physical.
This policy was approved by a vote of
4-2, with Porter and Doescher opposed.
The other proposed revision was Section
13.020, which involves code of conduct. The revision states,
In the discharge of their duties, employees shall
adhere to the following code of conduct: No employee in
the service of the City shall request or permit the use
of City owned property for any purpose except the conduct
of City business and no such employee shall, directly
or indirectly, attempt to obtain any service or benefit
from City personnel for the personal affairs of such employee.
However, there is a police officer exception
that says police officers may use their police uniform,
badge, utility belt and related equipment, as well as
their side arm when providing off duty security within
the City of Platte City. Off duty work shall be in compliance
with Chapter 16 of the personnel policy.
That exception also has both Porter and
Doescher questioning the need for reserve police officers
in a city of Platte Citys size.
I dont know why we even need
reserves, said Porter. The county doesnt
even have reserve officers.
Platte City Police Chief Joe McHale said
the county employs 128 officers. If two of their
officers dont show up due to illness, it doesnt
affect them. If two officers dont show up with us,
it affects us greatly, said McHale.
If we dont pay the reserves,
theyre not going to work I can tell you that. If
the reserves arent going to work here you are going
to lose about a quarter of your force. The days of having
reserves not paid are just about gone.
McHale also informed the board that his
department has seen felony arrests increase considerably,
as well as domestic violence arrest calls on the rise
by at least 30%.
However, Doescher disagrees. Reserve
officers work for free and they have been for a long time
and its not 30 years ago like may have been mentioned
last night, Doescher said Wednesday morning.
I did a lot of research on this
(topic) this weekend, and it is still happening. And for
us to be buying uniforms and cleaning them for the reserve
officers, I just dont understand it.
I dont know how we can ask
officers to go through all the requirements and meet our
standards and ask them to work for nothing, said
Mayor Dave Brooks.
Porter said, I dont believe
in furnishing them uniforms and everything to stay for
a couple of months.
Brooks said he didnt understand
how aldermen and the city could ask officers to risk their
own safety and not get paid for that risk. He pointed
to a specific incident which occurred at a Platte County
R-3 Pirates football game two weeks ago, where a fight
broke out and by the time the officer made his way to
the fight there was nothing he could do because he was
the only officer at the game.
Brooks asked Assistant Superintendent
Greg Frost, who was present at the meeting, how many people
attend a Pirates game on average each week and Frost responded
with an attendance of 1,500-2,000 people.
I never went into combat by myself,
said Alderman George McClintock. I always had two
or three guys go with me.
Brooks pointed to each of the board members
and said if they think they can find credible officers
out there who meet the citys standards and requirements
for a reserve officer that will work for free, then he
wants them to bring those individuals in.
If you all condone this, I as a
mayor dont condone it, Brooks stated.
The board decided to table this revision.
In other action,
Frost, R-3 assistant superintendent,
requested the board of aldermens consideration of
extending the minimum allowable distance, which according
to city ordinance is 200 feet, between an establishment
which serves liquor and the schools.
City Administrator Keith Moody said the
city has regulations that prohibit the issuance of a liquor
license to an establishment that would move within 200
feet of an established church or school.
However, in this case the potential business
would fall over the 200 feet regulation and would be permitted
because of the citys code.
We measured from building to building
and it is 233 feet from the building to the school,
According to Frost, R-3 school board members
had raised some concerns about the citys ordinance,
when rumors were circulating that a potential bar and
grill may be going in near the school.
We felt due to the proximity of
the middle school and the activities that we have in the
evening, there may be some unwanted banter from people
who maybe have had one too many exiting the business,
said Frost. Were trying to error on the side
of safety and were trying to eliminate all those
factors we can.
McHale stated that even if the city wanted
to change its ordinance it wouldnt be able to.
State law is pretty explicit about
the 200 feet rule. You cant supersede state law,
McHale stated that he is willing to work
with Frost and the district to gather their input if such
a business would want to develop in such close proximity
to the schools.
We just wanted to bring it to your
attention to be heard, stated Frost.
We dont want any child subject
to anything you dont want them subject to, but we
cant break state rules, said Brooks.