Cresson reinstates police officer positions

CRESSON – Like many municipalities, Cresson Borough has a hard time keeping part-time police officers, who often stay for a few months before finding a permanent position elsewhere.

That could change soon. Council voted Monday evening to reinstate two permanent part-time positions, where officers would work 32-hour weeks and receive health insurance and five personal days a year.

Under the current police contract, the permanent part-time officers would get no vacation or sick days.

Officer-in-charge Brad Klock, who has been heading the police force in place of the former chief, who is involved in litigation with the borough, said the department currently operates with himself as the full-time officer with four part-time officers.

Two already work about 32 hours a week, and the other two pick up a few shifts, he said. There was a fifth part-time officer who recently quit.

“It’s a pain. The turnover puts a damper on everything,” Klock said.

The move would reorganize the department with himself at the helm, two permanent part-time officers, one part-time patrolman working up to 32 hours a week and a fifth or sixth part-time officer dividing up the remaining shifts.

Councilman Shawn McGonigle said coverage would be better if council moved a second officer to full time, but other council members said the cost of additional benefits – including a higher hourly wage and vacation days – would cost the borough too much.

Council President Joseph Pupo questioned whether 32 hours a week would be enough of an incentive, but Klock said the lure of benefits will create stability within the department. He said he believes more officers would stay under the proposed plan.

If, in a few months, council realizes it would prefer having a second full-time officer, Klock said they could bump someone else up before contract negotiations begin.

“Everybody’s telling us we need more police coverage,” Pupo said.