Wellington will make do with two full-time cops, part-time reserve backup
Wellington City has decided that two full-time police officers will be enough to handle law enforcement there, as long as there's a deep pool of part-time reserve officers to help carry the load.
The City Council on Wednesday adopted a new ordinance that sets the full-time force employment at two, using the mayor as an adminstrator with no law enforcement duties.
Those two officers will be high-ranked - lieutenants or captains - and they will train and supervise the reserves.
Mayor Ben Blackburn told the council that there are already nine reserve applicants in the pool. The number includes members of neighboring police departments, the Carbon County Sheriff's Department, and Utah Adult Probation and Parole.
All are Police Office Standards and Training certified, and all will receive additional training on Wellington geography and characteristics before taking to the streets.
According to Blackburn, the math shows that the most efficient use of the city's limited funds is the local command with part-time backup approach.
The mayor and City Attorney John Schindler said that the policy is not experimental or unique. Other cities have been using police officers part-time.
The reserves will wear Wellington PD uniforms and drive city cars. They will also appear in court as needed, or fill in on patrol for Wellington officers who have court dates.
Mayor Blackburn said the minimum coverage for the full-time, part-time police force would be 16 hours a day, every day.
Council member Pete Yakovich, who joined the unanimous approval, called the measure "a step in the right direction." However, he added, "In 10 years, things could change. It works for now, but let's monitor it."
With revenue struggles and the recent retirement of Chief Lee Barry, Wellington has been looking for ways to maintain its level of services across-the-board.