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Police chief asks for impound fee on towed vehicles
TELL CITY - A day's work will soon require extra hours from Tell City's patrolmen.
The city's board of public works and safety gave its blessing Monday to a police-department request for 12-hour shifts, giving Chief Greg Hendershot the authority to begin the longer tours of duty in early September - and to revert back to eight-hour shifts if the new scheduling system doesn't work.
The majority of officers are in favor of going to the 12-hour schedule and have been pushing for its implementation, Hendershot said. In return for working longer individual shifts, mostly from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. or 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. officers will have more time off between workdays, including a three-day weekend every other week.
The change will affect the city's nine patrol officers. The department's chief, assistant chief and lieutenant-detective will continue to work eight-hour shifts.
Dispatchers working within the department already work 12-hour shifts, as do sheriff's department deputies.
"The guys really want to try it. Since I've been promoted to chief, it's been a regular topic when they come and see me," Hendershot said.
The change shouldn't add to the department's labor costs since the proposed schedule won't require officers to work overtime, except occasionally when other officers are ill, taking part in training or on vacation.
Hendershot said he already has to deal with those issues on an eight-hour shift.
The works board approved a request by Hendershot to hire sheriff's deputy Daymion Marsh as a part-time patrolman, adding his name to a list of officers who work full-time for other departments but will work as needed for Tell City.
The works board has already approved deputy sheriff Lee Chestnut and Cannelton Sgt. Eric Dickenson for part-time work.
The sheriff's department, in a similar move, has hired city offices to work part time.
The works board took the first step Monday in approving an impound fee of $35 to be assessed on owners of vehicles ordered towed by officers. The fee would be in addition to towing-company charges and would help compensate the city for the time it takes to inventory contents of cars and trucks and handle state-required paperwork.
"When a vehicle is impounded the officer writes up a state-required tow history that gets sent to the state and entered into our in-house computer system. When the vehicle is released, the dispatcher or records coordinator obtains paperwork from the person getting the vehicle and then calls the wrecker service authorizing its release," Hendershot said. "The whole process takes time away from other duties."
The works board gave its OK to preparing an ordinance, which still must be approved by the city council.
In two final matters of police business coming before the works board Monday, Hendershot announced that Heather Glenn, hired as a patrolman last month, will begin work by Sept. 1, if not a day or so earlier.
Michelle Huffines was hired as a dispatcher, moving from part-time to full-time status.
She fills a vacancy created with the resignation of dispatcher Lisa Hauser.