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Montville — The Montville Police Department requested that the town increase its budget by 6.9 percent for fiscal year 2014 in hopes of adding a police officer, a full-time clerk and a custodian.
Police Lt. Leonard Bunnell said that he would like to have a full-time school resource officer and that adding an additional officer would make that more likely, although not certain.
He believes a uniformed officer should be in Montville High School five days a week, with a lesser presence at the elementary schools. An officer cannot be assigned to that duty if he does not wish to fill it, however, according to Bunnell’s interpretation of the police union’s contract with the town.
Some councilors seemed concerned by Bunnell’s uncertainty about whether an extra officer would fill the SRO position.
“You’re asking us for money, then you’re saying, ‘Well, I’m not really sure,’” said Councilor Rosetta Jones.
Bunnell justified the request by explaining that the department could use the extra staff either way. He said the department needs 30 officers to function properly rather than its current 23, but that he was trying to be “realistic” by only requesting funds for one additional officer.
The committee also raised concerns about the overtime budgeted by the police department. The department spent more than $242,000 on overtime in 2012. Bunnell said there was little that could be done to bring the number down because of the police union contract’s terms.
— Kelly Catalfamo