By Elio Gugliotti, Editor
PROSPECT — Town officials and the Prospect Police Union have reached an agreement on a new contract for police officers.
The contract, which was approved by the Town Council in March, is retroactive to July 1, 2020, and covers through June 30, 2022.
The town participates in the resident state trooper program. Under the program, Connecticut State Police provide troopers for participating towns to help oversee police operations. The program also provides services, such as dispatch and booking. Towns in the program hire their own officers.
The Prospect Police Union represents the town’s officers, who all work part time. The administrative lieutenant position at the Prospect Police Department is not part of the union.
Under the contract, the regular hourly rate for officers increased 2.25% to $33.79 for this fiscal year. The increase was retroactive to July 1, 2020. Officers will receive a 2.75% raise to $34.72 an hour for the 2021-22 fiscal year.
Salaries for officers is expected to cost the town an additional $18,854 in the 2021-22 fiscal year, according to budget documents.
The raises for officers mirror those in contracts for other town unions approved over the past year.
Mayor Robert Chatfield said the 2.75% raise was based on the average of six arbitration awards in the state from last year. He added the contract is only for two years due to the economic uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We held the line the best we could,” he said.
The contract increases the hourly rate for extra duty jobs, such as directing traffic at construction sites. Through June 30, the rate is $60 an hour, up from $56. The rate increases to $64 for the 2021-22 fiscal year.
If the extra duty work is for a town job, the rate is $52.50 through June 30 and increases to $55 on July 1.
Officers also receive a little more money for working evening, midnight and weekend shifts. According to the contract, the shift differentials in pay range from 2% to 5.1%.
Since the town’s officers all work part time and are retired from other departments, they do not receive medical benefits from the town.
The contract includes new language to cover a K-9 program. The department added a patrol K-9 last year.
The contract states it’s the town’s discretion to fund the program. The department’s K-9 handler is allowed one hour per work day to attend to the K-9’s needs while working regular patrol. On days off, the handler is paid for one hour at a rate of $12.06 for caring for the K-9.
The town will also cover the veterinarian and insurance costs for the K-9 and provide a vehicle for the handler, the contract states.
New language in the contract also increases the number of weekend shifts officers have to a work a month from at least three to at least four, including two day and evening weekend shifts.
Officer John Kennelly, president of the union, could not be reached for comment. A message left for him at the department was not returned.