TICONDEROGA - The Ticonderoga Police Department has hired another part-time officer in an effort to cut costs.
Ron O'Neil, a former detective lieutenant with the Paramus, N.J., Police Department now living in Ticonderoga, was hired at the Sept. 9 town board meeting.
O'Neil is the fourth part-time officer hired by the town.
Ti Police Chief Mark Johns said the part-time officers work as needed to fill in for full-time officers on vacation, personal or sick leave.
"We're not looking to increase police services to the community," Johns explained. "We're just looking to provide those services at an economical rate."
Johns said there are 28 shifts a week covered by the Ticonderoga Police Department. Full-time officers working overtime to fill those shifts cost the department an extra $80 a shift, he said.
Part-time officers work only as needed and are paid regular salary, he said.
"It's more economical to call on a good part-time officer to fill a shift than to pay overtime," Johns said.
Wayne Taylor, chairman of the town emergency services committee, said the use of part-time officers is a smart move.
"It's a cost savings, overtime reduction initiative," Taylor said.
Several town board members expressed concern that part-time officers may not be as cost-effective as touted.
The town must pay for training, equipment and uniforms for the part-time officers, who may not always be available when needed, trustee Dorcey Crammond noted.
If the part-time officers are utilized fine, but if not they are costing the town money without providing a return on the investment, she said.
Trustee Jeff Cook, who is a retired Ti police chief, expressed his belief the police department can find other ways of saving money rather than limiting overtime by full-time officers.
After discussion, O'Neil's hiring was approved, 3-1, with Cook opposed and trustee Steve Whitford absent. Supervisor Deb Malaney, Taylor and Crammond support the move.