By Adam Hocking
MARSHFIELD — Marshfield Chief of Police Rick Gramza spoke before the City of Marshfield Finance, Budget and Personnel Committee Tuesday night about the police department’s plan to replace one police officer “flex” position on the force with a detective.
The move has already been approved by the City Fire and Police Commission, and Gramza spoke to the Finance, Budget and Personnel Committee to inform them of the impending change.
“This isn’t adding another position. This is just taking what was a flex officer patrol position and ultimately promoting a position to detective,” Gramza said.
The new detective will be promoted from within the Marshfield Police Department, and Gramza estimated that there may be three to five candidates for the position. Gramza hopes to have the new detective in place some time in April.
Gramza said that the flex position is a difficult role because the officer assumes varying responsibilities from day to day. The flex position is called on to fill in wherever there is a need for an extra officer.
“When you’re needed, you go to this shift for two months, and then you go to this shift for three weeks, and then you go to this shift for a month,” Gramza said of the unpredictable nature of the flex position. “When you’re that person, you really can’t take vacation days because you’re needed.”
Gramza said the person that was filling the flex position no longer wanted to continue in that role, and there was no interest from the rest of the department in filling it either. He added that by replacing the flex position with a detective, Marshfield’s investigative team will receive needed reinforcements.
“Our investigative bureau is inundated, is swamped with calls,” Gramza said. He added that many child abuse, sexual assault, and child neglect cases are currently assigned to school liaison officers, which pulls them away from their work inside the schools.
“Hopefully, adding this detective will take some of (the) calls for service away from the (Police School Liaison Officers), will assist the three current investigators and some of their calls for service, and ultimately then make better use of that one officer, whoever it is, that will be promoted to detective,” Gramza said.
The department currently has three general investigators, two drug investigators, and two school liaison officers.