Wednesday, December 2, 2015

BIPD Officer Retention Update

At the December 1, 2015 City Council meeting, Belle Isle Police Chief Rich Ring provided an update on the BIPD officer retention issue explored in the previous article: Attend Tonight's Meeting to Support Our BIPD!

Chief Ring's presentation and the ensuing discussion did not produce any definite plan for increasing officer retention in our City, but left the door open for further discussion. Commissioner Nielsen indicated that the residents of Belle Isle, if asked, might be willing to dedicate a bit more of the City budget towards enacting a solid plan to retain some of our most talented officers.

Chief Ring has hired some great new officers during his term at Belle Isle, and he is correct that there will always be officer turnover in a small city like ours. But there is no substitute for experience and wisdom, especially in the kinds of legal and life or death matters that our officers face on a regular basis, and our City should have a goal of keeping some of its long-term officers on the force.

Chief Ring also referenced the Sun's November 3 article about the BIPD, articulating his concern that my statement regarding two talented Belle Isle officers who would "soon be leaving the BIPD" might be misinterpreted by readers to mean that these officers had already left the BIPD. In case that is so, please be assured that these officers are still with the BIPD for the time being while seeking new employment.

This means there might still be a hope for our city council to come together and agree on a solution that would keep one or both of these officers at the BIPD, or at least increase the officer retention rate as we move forward.

This officer retention issue is complex and cannot necessarily be fixed just by throwing a little money at the problem. But citizen input is always helpful, so if you have thoughts on this matter, please contact your commissioners.

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