To stop the constant hemoraghing of overtime costs, River Edge Police Chief Tom Cariddi requested that the Mayor and Council give him the go-ahead to begin searching for potential candidates.
The department which should normally have 24 officers is down to 20 following the most recent retirements of Sergeants Mark Westervelt and Robert Daly and Patrol Officer John Dzoba.
A new contract signed with the PBA allows for a lower starting salary and longer period of time to reach top pay, according to Cariddi. For a new patrol officer the starting salary would be $27,775 but once benefits are added it comes to $44,285 per officer.
For the past 12 years, the REPD has hired officers based on the alternate route where an applicant pays their own way through the academy. The last time the department hired an officer on the traditional route (the department pays for an applicant to attend the academy) was in 1996.
The borough has budgeted $160,000 to cover overtime costs but based on estimates by Borough Administrator Alan Negrean and Cariddi, the department costs could reach a minimum of $225,000 by the end of the year.