2006-10-07 / News

City Reclassifies Police Dispatch Position for More Flexibility

The position traditionally known as dispatcher/clerk at the Mackinac Island Police Department will now be classified as public safety service officer. The City of Mackinac Island's public safety committee, during a meeting Tuesday, September 5, agreed the new title allows for more work flexibility in that position.

The committee also discussed the possibility of keeping Officer John Beam on fulltime, which would give the department six full-time officers during the fall and winter. The reclassification of the

position, which Mary Barber has held full-time throughout the summer, will increase her hourly pay from $9.53 to $10.25. She will also be eligible for health benefits after she completes a probationary period.

The officer must be available to call in within an hour after being paged by the police department, which Police Chief William Lenaghan said Ms. Barber is willing and able to do.

As a public safety service officer, Ms. Barber's general duties are to receive calls for

service and dispatch, and perform certain administrative duties for the front office and for inmate services, such as searching prisoners taken into custody, assist with restraining subjects in custody, and processing arrests as required by the department.

She will also be required to perform impoundment services, animal control, and direct traffic when required.

"Reclassifying the position gives us more latitude," Chief Lenaghan told the committee. "It enlarges the scope of ability to do more things in that position as compared to what it was before, which was a dispatcher, which is really not what the position is anymore."

Dispatching is now handled by the 9-1-1 Central Dispatch office in Negaunee.

The committee will review the possibility of keeping Mr. Beam on as a full-time officer, as long as the department's budget allows for it. A decision to keep him on full-time may be decided by next week.

"We've managed to cut out almost all of our overtime costs with having John on," said Chief Lenaghan. Mr. Beam's services would

come in handy during fall and winter, he said, when most of the officers take their vacations.

"John is the right kind of person for the Island," said committee member Jason St. Onge, "but it's hard to argue that there's a need for six cops."

Mayor Margaret Doud suggested the department could eliminate one part-time summer position to fund the position.

Committee members agreed that Mr. Beam has been wellreceived by the community, the school, and senior citizens.

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