By Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writer
Councilman Wade Kapszukiewicz has a plan he says will let the city add 15 police officers and stay within its budget.
Police Chief Michael Navarre said the plan is a smart one “that makes good sense.”
It involves the size of this year’s police class.
Mayor Carty Finkbeiner’s proposed budget in November called for a 15-member class to begin this month to help replace the two dozen or more officers expected to retire this year. Nine officers have retired so far, and one has been fired.
Mr. Kapszukiewicz has suggested starting the police class later in the year, in July or August. Delaying the start date will result in fewer weeks of salary to pay, so the city could afford to pay more officers.
“We need to make providing for the public’s safety our priority, and this is a way to increase the officers on the street without busting the budget,” he said.
A class of 30 beginning Aug. 4 would cost the same as a class of 15 starting this month.
“I would strongly recommend that we postpone the class,” Chief Navarre said. “That makes good sense.”
Mr. Kapszukiewicz is seeking election to the seat to which he was appointed in January. His opponent is Republican Nick Wichowski, a former mayoral candidate.