One of the dirty little secrets that the incumbents don’t want to talk about is the world of hurt that our safety forces are about to encounter.
Thanks to a pension plan that began years ago, a whole bunch of our senior staff are all going to retire in droves starting next year. All that institutional knowledge, is going to hang up their holsters and leave us minus a deputy chief, a major, a bunch of lieutenants and practically the whole detective section in the next 2 years.
The DROP plan is described here:
The Deferred Retirement Option Plan (DROP) is an optional benefit that allows eligible police officers and firefighters to accumulate a lump–sum of money for retirement.
Thanks to our current problems with the Department of Justice, we can’t even hold a civil service test to start the 18 month process to hire new police officers. It’s a good thing the residency rule is no longer in force, which along with opening our department for lateral transfers, will be our only chance at keeping adequate staffing. This may be one of the issues that forces Dayton to the regional discussion table faster. By joining the police department with the Montgomery County Sheriffs department and possibly Trotwood (which both just laid off some officers) we may be able to maintain adequate staffing and resources at a critical time.
Other options include finding ways to move desk jobs over to civilians as much as possible and making sure all officers are on the street at least several days a month from the Chief on down.
It may also be time to start looking at recruiting officers from the military police – offering them options on clusters of homes in tougher neighborhoods, complete with installation of ShotSpotter technology to help take back these neighborhoods. Given a choice between Iraq, Afghanistan and some tough streets in Dayton might take some battle tested people to fight to bring our neighborhoods back.
This should be one of the first issues to be discussed with Tim Riordan, regardless of the election. A plan should have been presented to the public long ago, as these retirement dates have been set in stone for some time.
This would be an excellent question for the Dayton Daily News to ask our Mayoral candidates in the debate tonight. I doubt either have any clue on what to do.