ELLSWORTH — Police Chief Glenn Moshier will ask the City Council for permission next week to create two new corporal positions within the department to help meet supervision needs.
If the council approves the requests at its Jan. 8 meeting, Moshier said the goal would be to promote from within the department’s current roster for the corporals. He said their role would be to provide supervision during the daytime shifts, while the department’s two sergeants would continue to supervise the overnight shifts.
“The need has been there for quite some time,” said Moshier, himself a former sergeant within the department. “In the current schedule, there has been no daytime supervision for patrol officers for years, except what the lieutenant provided.”
The lieutenant’s role has been modified in the past year to work more closely with the department’s detective. The lack of supervision Moshier mentioned has been less of a problem than it might otherwise have been, he said, because the daytime shifts have typically been filled by the most experienced, veteran officers. Those officers, however, are beginning to retire.
“The face of our daytime patrol is changing dramatically,” Moshier said. “We are soon likely to have daytime patrol officers with less than five years of experience.”
Some of the department’s new officers will be coming fresh from the Maine Criminal Justice Academy with little or no previous experience at another police department or law enforcement agency. The Ellsworth Police Department currently requires at least five years of patrol experience for its sergeant’s posts. Moshier said the corporal ranks will require at least three years of patrol experience.
Moshier said the corporals would help younger, less experienced officers because those officers would know they had someone with more experience who they could go to with questions and concerns during their shift. That would also be a comfort for Moshier as chief, who, though he works during the daytime, is kept busy attending to the administrative needs that come with his post.
Moshier said the corporals, if approved, will provide supervision in the same way sergeants do. They will not, however, have any disciplinary responsibility or authority.
If the plan to promote two officers from within goes ahead, it will mean a pay raise for them. Moshier noted he had budgeted for a third sergeant’s position starting Jan. 1, and said the new plan proves more cost-effective than that previous one.
“We can promote two corporals for less than what it would cost for one additional sergeant,” he said.
The Ellsworth Police Department is not the only law enforcement agency to add corporal ranks in recent years. The Maine State Police promoted 23 troopers to the rank of corporal to assist with supervision needs two years ago, and the Waldo County Sheriff’s Office also has corporals within its agency.
Moshier said in addition to helping meet the department’s supervision needs, creating the corporal’s posts also would give new officers something to aspire to if they wish to advance and pursue a long-term career in law enforcement.