Five police retire to save younger officers’ jobs

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GALLOWAY – Five senior township police officers are retiring at the end of the month, rendering unnecessary a plan to lay off five junior officers

“Please be advised that on this date, Galloway Township Manager Arch Liston has rescinded the layoff notices to the five most junior police officers in Galloway Township,” Police Chief Patrick Moran said in a press release Wednesday, Dec. 19. “Lt. Tom Davey, Lt. Paul Dooner, Sgt. Troy Midgette, Cpl. Mike Goldberg, and Cpl. Harvey Bird have all made application to the pension board to retire as of January 1. All have done so to save junior officers from layoffs.”

Moran said he and Liston and other police will be working out a reorganization to address the needs of the public and the needs of the department over the next few weeks.

“The department will be at 48 officers as of Jan. 1,” Moran said. “However, the department remains committed to providing  quality police service, and will remain focused on answering emergency calls for service and investigating major crimes and incidents going into 2013.

A year ago, Moran said the minimum number of officers needed to maintain the public safety in Galloway was 57. What’ changed?

“Nothing’s changed,” Moran told The Current Thursday, Dec. 20. “What we need and what’s available are two different things. It’s a budget situation.”

The chief said he wouldn’t say that people won’t be safe.

“Fifty-seven would have been right – but that includes response times, etc.,” Moran said. “Our response times will increase. And our calls for service are increasing.”

Moran said he’s working closely with Liston.

“The manager is in charge of the structure,” he said. “I’m in charge of assignments. We have a good relationship.”

He said he hasn’t had a bad relationship with any of the managers he’s worked with, though naturally he’s worked better with some than others.

As an officer who has been on the street, Moran said he also has a great relationship with his subordinates.

“The ability of the department to meet our needs for calls for service, the number of crimes and the investigation of crimes has been largely due to the dedication of the workforce,” Moran said. “They’re the ones out there doing it – from the street officers to the detectives, to the dispatchers, to our clerks and our administrative support staff. All have been giving 110 percent.”

The chief said there’s a theme among Galloway officers.

“We’re all cops first,” Moran said. “In keeping with that theme, the department will continue to focus on our emergency calls for service and follow-up investigations to major crimes and incidents.”

He said he’s been experiencing and expects to continue experiencing challenges with administrative tasks.

“But we won’t sacrifice our response to calls,” Moran said. “We’re getting everything done, some a little slower than others - which we expect to get even slower. However we will maintain our level of commitment to our public and calls for service.”

The administration does not believe in cancelling response to any calls for service, he said.

“But we do believe in prioritizing and looking at alternative ways to address non-emergency calls for service,” Moran said. “We plan to look into telephone, online  and other options to deal with our various situations.”

Liston said there have been no difficulties dealing with the Policemen’s Benevolent Association.

He commended the officers who retired to allow the newer officers to keep their jobs.

“We’ve also had five or six other employees who took voluntary layoffs,” Liston said. “Senior Services will combine with Community Services. Beth Stasuk will move out to the Senior Center. There will be no cutback in services there.”

There will be about five or six fewer Public Works employees next year, the manager said. The police will lose a records clerk. And when the post office closes in January, the lone remaining employee there will bump into the Finance Department.

“Between voluntary and other layoffs we’re close to solving our budget problem,” Liston said.

Moran too commended the retiring officers. Four of the five were actively involved in “on the street” duty in executive capacities.

“As the Chief, I want to acknowledge and commend those who are retiring for the selfless gesture to save others positions, and thank them all for their outstanding service to Galloway Township,” Moran said. “We are losing over 130 years of combined experience, supervision and expertise - and the loss of these supervisors will definitely create some significant challenges.  They were all ‘go to’ people, and the loss of their knowledge and experience will be felt. I wish them well and good luck in retirement.”

Township-wide layoffs were announced months ago to close an expected shortfall of more than $1 million in the 2013 budget.

Mayor Don Purdy said he had nothing but praise for the retiring officers.

“They’ve given a lot to Galloway Township over the years,” Purdy said. And they’re still giving by retiring at this time.”

Councilman Jim Gorman echoed the mayor’s words on the departing officers.

“I appreciate the senior officers retiring and the impact it will have,” Gorman said. “I’ll have to see the numbers to determine the overall impact.”

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