MAPLEWOOD, NJ — On July 2, the Maplewood Township Committee unanimously approved an ordinance on first reading that would add another sergeant to the Maplewood Police Department’s table of organization. The change, if approved on second reading at the committee’s July 16 meeting, would bring the number of sergeants in the department from 10 to 11. The position would be created by promoting an officer from within the department, and the number of police personnel employed by the department will remain the same.
According to Chief Jimmy DeVaul in an email to the News-Record on July 8, he negotiated with the township and the police unions for a different schedule for patrol officers, which would give officers more access to training.
“I asked for an additional sergeant to fill a gap in supervision identified in this new officers’ schedule,” DeVaul said. “A very common theme in police departments is that schedules and overtime prohibit officer training. This schedule allows for a great deal more training at a minimal expense to the residents. We are now providing officer training while they work instead of paying overtime.”
He said a patrol sergeant is a unique position that can serve in multiple capacities, counting as manpower in the patrol division or can be a watch and shift commander. In addition to saving money on overtime, the new sergeant will improve supervision, add support for the new patrol schedule, create more opportunities for advancement, allow additional training and improve the department’s morale.
“If my proof of concept is correct, I will ask for another sergeant this time next year,” DeVaul said. “The costs are minimal — approximately $15,000. I expect the savings in overtime to be more than double that number over the next year.”