Raises for police mulled in McDonald

McDONALD — Village Council members are questioning whether raises for police officers are necessary.

No official action was taken, but the idea was floated during a recent committee meeting.

There are five full-time officers, according to acting police Chief Bill Woodley, and one part-time officer. There were once seven full-timers, Woodley said, but two full-time officers recently left for positions in Liberty and Weathersfield.

On Wednesday, council approved promoting one part-time officer into a full-time position, bringing the number of officers up to six full-time and one part-time.

“We normally carry between three and four part-timers,” Woodley said. “We lost two full-time officers all within a couple week span.”

Councilman Ray Lewis said starting wages for police in McDonald are about $3 an hour behind other area departments. Lewis said it’s almost as if McDonald provides training for new officers who then are hired away by higher paying departments.

Councilman Richard Harvey suggested looking at the budget to determine whether raises are even a possibility.

Council members said they want to determine the median wage of area police departments as a starting point. The idea of providing a bonus to officers who serve for a particular number of years, or providing tiered wage increases, also was discussed.

Lewis said police raises are only being explored for now, and council has a long way to go before a decision is made.