Police set to hire two new officers

Wilton will soon welcome two new patrol officers to its staff, Chief Michael Lombardo told The Bulletin on Tuesday. These additions will bring its total officer count to 44, the currently allocated allowance.

“These two new additions will bring us back to full staff,” the chief said. “We’re short two officers now, but we are actually short four officers on patrol.”

The department currently has 40 fully trained officers on staff, with two officers in training for up to 10 months.

The lapse in officer count, the chief said, was due to three retirements in the past year. Additional officers are needed because the current shortage has forced many officers to work overtime on shifts to which they are not normally assigned.

“There has been overtime, and more shifting from original shifts to new shifts. It’s been a burden on the officers. Some are working a shift, taking eight hours off, and working another shift,” he said.

These shifts can result in tired or worn-out officers, he said, but as for airline pilots, there are regulations that govern how much and how often officers may work patrols. This is something the department monitors closely, he added.

Veteran force

Wilton has a veteran police force, and 21 officers in the department are eligible to retire, the chief said.

“I think in some industries, because of the economic situation of the past six years, people tend to stay on longer for the job security. The longer people stay is great for us, because they really know their jobs well,” he said.

However, a veteran force does not come without problems to consider. Officers with longer tenures on the force qualify for “more time off, and more benefits,” the chief said.

Additionally, he must be prepared for a large number of retirement-eligible officers to leave the force at any time.