West Windsor Council and Mayor Shing-Fu Hsueh have approved an ordinance restructuring the township police department.##M:[more]##

The ordinance eliminated the position of captain and one sergeant’s position in exchange for an increase in the number of lieutenants from two to four. Salary-wise, the restructuring does not add any dollars to the police budget.

The new structure, which takes effect in January, will allow for a more direct chain of command, as well as more one-on-one contact between supervisors and their officers, says Chief Joseph Pica.

“We held a department-wide meeting last May where everyone got to express any concerns they might have had,” says the chief. “The number one issue brought up was that the patrol officers wanted to have their supervisors here on the weekends. A lot of times guys didn’t even get to see their lieutenants.”

Chief Pica said in the months following the meeting he researched different ways of reorganizing the department’s supervisory structure. Several avenues opened after the retirements during the year of Captain Ken Hawthorne, Lieutenant Gene Swanheart, and Sergeant Frank Coyle.

“I ultimately recommended to the mayor and council that we do away with the captain’s spot and exchange it for two lieutenants spots,” Pica says. “Then, due to salary concerns, we agreed to eliminate one sergeant position.”

Previously, the department had one captain, two lieutenants and eight sergeants. After the restructuring, there will still be the same number of supervisors.

Specific areas of responsibility have been outlined for each of the lieutenants, according to the chief.

Sergeant David Mansue, currently a sergeant, will be promoted to lieutenant in charge of the detective bureau, records, and the dispatch area.

Sergeant Keith Hillman will be promoted to a lieutenant overseeing administrative aspects of the department.

Sergeants Frank Capone and Tim Courtney will be promoted to lieutenants overseeing two patrol squads each. They will work on the same days as the officers that they supervise.

According to Chief Pica, the promotions will create vacancies in three sergeant positions that have not yet been filled.

“We anticipate that there will be more accountability, in addition to more supervision in the evenings and the weekends,” says Pica, pointing out that the restructuring is not being done as a result of problems within the department. “We’re trying to do more with less. We realize the town is expanding, and we’re trying to meet the demands that that causes without having to hire any additional officers.”

He says the new system will also be helpful to him because it eliminates a level of bureaucracy and will allow him more direct interaction with the lieutenants. Previously, the captain was second in command in the department, and he reported directly to the chief.