Schaumburg trustees Tuesday approved the gradual restructuring of the village's police department, intended to flatten its management hierarchy and ultimately save about $300,000 per year.
"We're going to keep the same number of officers and same number of investigators we've always had," Schaumburg Police Chief Brian Howerton said. "This action allows us to keep the same level of service in the community."
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Howerton added that the new changes are as significant as those made when he first became chief in 2009 and share the same goal.
Then, too, the structure of the department was flattened by the elimination of a top management position -- civilian director -- held by Richard Casler since his retirement as chief in 2001.
Due to current and imminent retirements, the village is now planning to pare its three deputy chief positions to one, eliminate the rank of lieutenant and replace it with the rank of commander, which will carry more responsibilities.
"We're always looking for ways to organize our departments in the most efficient way," Schaumburg Village Manager Ken Fritz said.
No one will be laid off, but retirements that allow for the plan are on the horizon.
More than half the $300,000 in annual savings ultimately expected will be seen as early as next year, Fritz said.
When done, there will be only four management ranks in the department -- a chief, deputy chief, six commanders and probably the same number of sergeants as today.
When Casler was director, Howerton was one of two chiefs below him, each of whom had specific duties. After the director position was eliminated, Howerton became the only chief and three deputy chief positions were created -- each of which also had a specific function.
The director position was created for Casler in 2001 immediately after his retirement as a sworn officer. Only a sworn officer can hold the position of chief.
Fritz said creating the civilian position for Casler at that time was the best course of action for the department, which needed continuity of leadership. By 2009, the greater need was for a more streamlined department.