NORWALK, Conn. — The Norwalk Daily Voice accepts signed, original letters to the editor. Letters may be emailed to email@example.com.
To the Editor,
With a new police chief and new deputy chief in place it is now time to complete the redesign of the police department administration with the promotions of new captains. New captains will bring forth fresh ideas and enhance the direction of this department. You have a number of highly qualified, experienced lieutenants presently on a promotion list that will serve this city well. This promotion list has been in effect since November 2010.
Early in my career there were four captains and one inspector serving the city of Norwalk. One captain for each shift (three) and a captain leading the Professional Standards Unit. Presently there is only one captain, the captain of patrol.
In my dialog with the city the reason most often cited to me for not promoting captains is that a 1995 International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) study on the department's administration suggested they eliminate the position of captain. The study was re-visited in May of 2007 with the same conclusions. This study is 17 years old and to this point nothing has ever been addressed contractually with that suggestion. Further research showed that the IACP study suggested the elimination of the inspectors rank along with the deputy chief rank. To date none of these suggestions were followed. The city promoted a captain shortly after the 1996 study and continued to promote captains until now. The city has continued to promote to the rank of deputy chief.
Span of control in police administration is defined as the number of subordinates that can be effectively supervised by one person. My department's operational guide lines, The Directives, states, "To achieve effective direction, coordination, and control the number of employees under the immediate control of a supervisor will not be excessive". The IACP in their book, "Police Supervision," believes that the generally accepted ratio is six to nine subordinates for every supervisor. Police expert Nathan Iannone in his book "Supervision of Police Personnel" expresses the belief that the optimum number of subordinates supervised at the top level of an organization is relatively small, three to five. Presently 12 lieutenants answer to the deputy chief.
The Greenwich Police Department with a force of 150 and a population of 62,000 has three captains. The Stamford Police Department with a force of 273 and a population of 124,000 has seven captains. The Stratford Police Department with a force of 112 and a population 51,000 has four captains. The department that most closely mirrors Norwalk, The Danbury Police Department with a force of 163 and a population of 82,000, has four captains. These organizations all find a need for captains.
If the city opts to end the captain's rank it would effectively create a "glass ceiling," finishing a Norwalk Police Supervisor's career at lieutenant. Why would the city of Norwalk want to be responsible for not developing the future leadership of this department?
Sgt. Thomas Roncinske Jr.
President Norwalk Police Union