Proposed change in police department's management structure - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

by Jennifer Hoff

Proposed change in police department's management structure


ROCHESTER, MN (KTTC DT) -- In an effort to save the Rochester Police Department thousands of dollars, and improve its efficiency, the police chief wants to do away with a top-ranking law enforcement position, and instead, create an administrative assistant position. Some officers say, they are upset over the loss of promotional opportunities.

Chief Roger Peterson says, the department does not need to fill the position of Deputy Chief of Police.

It's currently vacant after Steve Johnston recently retired.

Peterson instead wants to create a Professional Standards Manager.

The chief pitched the idea Monday afternoon to the City Council.

The position he's suggesting would not require police powers and would be responsible for quality control functions such as audits and inspections.

It would also reduce operating costs by 30,000 annually.

Peterson argues, a Deputy Chief of Police position creates redundancy in the chain of command, and that he can effectively supervise the three captains himself.

However, the police union objects to the loss of promotable positions that would result if the request is approved.

Mike Vick, retired police sergeant says, "Will the Rochester Police Department have a solid chain of command or will it be weakened for the sake of 30,000?."

The Deputy Chief of Police position is not being eliminated. it will just remain unfilled.

If the position is needed in the future, the position would have to be reauthorized and funded by the City Council.

A few City council members praised Chief Peterson's proposal, while council member Michael Wojcik cautioned the council about micromanaging, leaving such human resource-type decisions up to the chief and not the city.

The council will vote on this decision at Monday's city council meeting at 7pm.

We'll bring you that at ten.

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