Police Chief John Lynch made a budget pitch during the Board of Selectmen meeting Dec. 4 for an additional police officer in the new year, to build up to the department’s authorized strength of 45 officers.

There are now 44 officers on the force, Lynch told the selectmen, and the shortfall has meant covering shifts with others on overtime pay.

“We’re 350 hours short with this number of people,” Lynch said.

The department has 25 patrol officers, five patrol sergeants, two patrol lieutenants, one detective lieutenant, four detectives, two school resource officers, two communications dispatchers, one records officer, one training officer, one administrative sergeant, one administrative captain, one operations captain, the chief, an administrative secretary, and a custodian. There is also one animal control officer with two part-time helpers.

The minimum staffing is three patrol officers per shift and one sergeant.

Typical assignments for patrol officers include routine patrolling, monitoring commercial and residential areas, vacant house checks, and traffic enforcement stops.

The selectmen listened to the chief’s presentation but made no commitments.