Selectmen fill vacant police officer position

BEACON FALLS — The Board of Selectmen voted, 2-1, during a special meeting Feb. 14 to promote a part-time police officer to fill a vacant full-time officer position.

The board approved making Officer Paul Markette full time to fill the vacancy left when former full-time officer Caroline O’Bar retired in December. Markette retired from the Naugatuck Police Department before joining the Beacon Falls Police Department five years ago as a part-time officer.

The promotion gives the town three full-time officers again. The town participates in the resident state trooper program, but has its own officers. Along with the three full-time officers, the town has about 10 part-time officers.

According to the meeting minutes, Selectman Michael Krenesky voted against filling the full-time position, saying the town should consider not filling it as a way to cut costs.

In a subsequent interview, First Selectman Christopher Bielik said full-time officers make about $30 an hour while part-time officers make about $28 an hour.

As a full-time officer, Markette will be eligible to receive benefits from the town after a probationary period. Bielik said last week he didn’t know whether Markette receives benefits as part of his retirement from the Naugatuck Police Department.

Bielik said he will meet with police officials in town to discuss whether there is a need to hire another part-time officer or if there are enough officers on staff now to cover shift needs.