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Bartlett: Town Manager And I 'On The Same Page' Regarding Transfer Moratorium

Aug 16, 2017 04:45PM ● By Bill Gilman

Hooksett, N.H., Police Chief Peter Bartlett

Dracut Police Chief Peter Bartlett says he supports a recent decision by Town Manager Jim Duggan to impose a moratorium on "lateral transfers" for Dracut PD personnel.
At a meeting of the Board of Selectmen last week, Duggan said he was imposing the temporary moratorium because eight officers had made lateral transfer requests and that the loss of such a large number of officers in such a short period of time would create coverage gaps and could result in a huge financial burden to the town due to overtime costs.
"Lateral transfers" are when an officer from one department moves to another department to take the same position.Many departments use this technique to fill vacancies with experienced officers. Most departments allow their officers to make lateral transfers but with permission required on a case-by-case basis.
Bartlett,who has been on the job for only a couple of months, agreed that losing as many as eight officers in a short period of time would cause significant problems for the department.
"(The Town Manager and I) are on the same page. The issue is one of public safety and a potential for diminished services if officers were allowed to transfer," said Bartlett. "Our current staffing levels are a challenge now and if we were to lose officers now the time line to replace them and get them to the academy and trained to be on their own would be about a year and we would have to fill the shifts left vacant with overtime."
Some officers, commenting on social media sites, have cited comparatively low pay and the recent department upheaval (including management turnover and an evidence handling scandal) as reasons for the transfer requests.
" I do ... understand the financial issues some officers are raising but I also know Jim Duggan is committed to improving the towns public safety services," said Bartlett.

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