Restructured department benefits citizens, Crestwood chief says

Paillou says department restructuring improves efficiency

By BURKE WASSON

Crestwood Police Chief Michael Paillou believes residents will benefit from a more efficient form of enforcement under the city’s newly restructured Police Department.

The Police Department’s hierarchy now includes the position of deputy chief, filled by Frank Arnoldy, as second in command to Paillou. Below the deputy chief are two lieutenants — Kevin Avery and Ron Compton. Avery and Compton oversee four squads of four patrol officers each. Each squad also is supervised by one of four squad sergeants.

Paillou said that with Avery and Compton being promoted to the two lieutenant positions overseeing patrol-officer squads as well as dispatchers and detectives, the department will benefit from the new chain of command.

“The old classification of watch commander or the rank of lieutenant in 2006 were not very efficiently described duties,” he said. “We tried to do without them for cost-saving measures by removing that lower upper-management level. Almost two years later, it hasn’t been working. So we’re putting that level of chain of command back in, which I think is going to make the department run a whole lot more efficient.”

Additionally, Paillou said these promotions became financially feasible after former Capt. Rick Downs retired this year and two officers resigned.

Besides pay increases through five promotions, Paillou said that raises for 10 other department employees were needed.

He said five employees were awarded pay raises because they were being paid less than other department employees who had less seniority. The chief also said that five additional employee raises were needed to bring their initial starting salary up to the city’s pay-plan level of 90 percent of average pay. Paillou said each officer had started at 88 percent of average pay.

Because of Downs’ retirement and the two resignations, the total restructuring of the Police Department even after pay raises were approved resulted in a department-budget savings of $76,980 in salary and benefits. A total of $1,869,572 now will be spent this year on salary and benefits.

The city would have had a savings of $113,015 this year in the Police Department due to Downs’ retirement and the two resignations, but used $36,035 of that original savings on pay increases for 15 officers. Of the $36,035 in pay increases this year, $23,303 was spent on promotions and $12,732 was spent on pay adjustments.

The 10 pay adjustments were effective May 15 — two days after Paillou presented the restructuring plan to the Board of Aldermen in closed session. They are:

• Officer Michael Akin’s salary rose from $46,887 to $47,764.

• Officer Edward Bartelme’s salary rose from $50,451 to $52,042.

• Dispatcher Susan DeClue’s salary rose from $34,157 to $35,738.

• Officer Sonja Jackson’s salary rose from $50,961 to $52,042.

• Officer Christopher Kuhn’s salary rose from $46,887 to $47,764.

• Officer Kevin McFarland’s salary rose from $46,887 to $47,764.

• Executive Secretary Connie Melching’s salary rose from $34,900 to $36,504.

• Officer Larry Nilges’ salary rose from $50,494 to $52,042.

• Communications Supervisor Patricia Ponticello’s salary rose from $42,538 to $44,538.

• Sgt. John Wunderlich’s salary rose from $58,195 to $58,980.

The five promotions effective June 1 are:

• Arnoldy was promoted from captain to deputy chief. His salary rose from $70,988 to $73,937.

• Avery was promoted from sergeant to lieutenant. His salary rose from $58,980 to $63,700.

• Compton was promoted from sergeant to lieutenant. His salary rose from $58,980 to $63,700.

• David Gray was promoted from officer to sergeant. His salary rose from $52,042 to $57,500.

• Kent Meier was promoted from officer to sergeant. His salary rose from $52,042 to $57,500.

Assessing the restructuring, Paillou said that with the removal of the captain position from the fleet as well as reinstating the lieutenant position, the city should prosper and the department will begin training the lieutenants to possibly take over for Paillou and Arnoldy after they retire.

“We’ve done away with positions that were not needed,” he said. “Without giving anything up, I still have direct supervision of my detective bureau without a detective sergeant watching the day-to-day operations of three detectives. He’s still overseeing it.

“And we’ll start to get the crossover between those two watch commanders, or lieutenants, that in theory will be trained to replace myself and Arnoldy when we retire.

“They will be qualified people to continue being professional policemen for the city of Crestwood that have years and years here. They know the town and now they’ll get that next level of training. And it’s going to help with the supervision of the first-line supervisors, which are the patrol sergeants.”