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Wilton Police Voice Manpower, Overtime Worries

WILTON, Conn. – The concern for Wilton Police isn't so much about the number of officers in the department but in the amount of money spent on overtime.

Of the 43 officers employed by the Wilton Police, four are out on extended medical leave. Of those officers, three are patrol officers and two are on the same shift. The department can't budget for problems like this, Commissioner David Waters said during a Police Commission meeting Tuesday evening.

The patrol division — the cops who pull you over on traffic infractions — is where the department is feeling the pinch. Many in that division are doing double shifts and working a lot of overtime.

“I’m happy with that the productivity is still pretty high, but it wears on the officer,” said Wilton Police Chief Michael Lombardo . Even though the 39 officers are doing a great job, the overtime and sick leave is wearing, he said.

“We’re already at what we budgeted for, and we’ve still got four more pay cycles to go” before the 2013 budget year begins, Lombardo said.

And that is does not take into account the exhaustion the officers are facing after working extra shifts to cover for their colleagues. “When you have a shortage of manpower, it creates a chronic problem,” Waters said. “People get exhausted. You can only do that for so long.”

Until the four officers return, the department must continue to deal with the overtime.

“I don’t think this is out of the ordinary, but this is why we try to explain to the people of Wilton the need for 44 officers,” said Chief Commissioner Christopher Weldon . The overtime has been well managed but necessary to maintain the quality of public service, he said.

This diminished manpower does not endanger the public safety, Lombardo said, because no matter what, the department maintains a full patrol for every shift. “We’re not concerned about the public safety in any way. They’re out there and visible.”

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