Westborough Police to seek Town Meeting support for new Administrative Lieutenant position

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By Dakota Antelman, Managing Editor

The Westborough Police Department is headquartered in the Forbes Municipal Building in town. (Photo/Dakota Antelman)

WESTBOROUGH – The Westborough Police Department is hoping that voters will approve an article at next month’s Town Meeting to create a new Administrative Lieutenant position for the town.

Discussing the effort at a Sept. 14 Select Board meeting, Police Chief Jeffery Lourie detailed the long list of tasks that would be assigned to this individual.

“Basically, it is going to be an extremely busy position,” Lourie said.

Lieutenant would work on variety of tasks

The Administrative Lieutenant would serve as Westborough’s public records officer, while also completing administrative tasks associated with the town’s new body worn camera program and the firearms licensing process.

They would handle solicitor permits, processing of court discovery motions and holding cell inspections in addition to a host of new duties associated with the state’s newly created Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Commission.

Gov. Charlie Baker signed Massachusetts’ police reform bill into law late last year, in part
creating the POST commission. The commission will operate a number of accountability
measures, holding independent authority to discipline officers in Massachusetts. The
commission will conduct its own investigations of alleged misconduct while maintaining
databases of various police records.

The POST commission and the larger reform bill that created it will likely translate to an
increase in administrative tasks for local departments like Westborough’s, Lourie said.

That, in turn, underscores the need for a new Administrative Lieutenant, Lourie continued.

“I’m hoping that the community supports us on this endeavor,” he said.

The new position would aim to have an individual start work on Nov. 1, representing a new cost of $79,726 through the remainder of fiscal year (FY) 2022. The position would then cost $120,909 for FY 2023.

Police consider electric vehicle purchase

If the Administrative Lieutenant position is approved at town meeting, the Westborough Police would also purchase a new vehicle.

Lourie recommended the Mustang Mach-E, a fully electric compact SUV. Lourie said the total cost for the vehicle, electrical work and its vehicle charger would be $70,881.20.

Lourie said the alternative, a hybrid Ford Explorer XLT, would cost less initially. The XLT, however, would have more long-term costs due to increased expenses for mileage and maintenance.

“We think it’s going to be cost effective in the long run to go with an electric vehicle for
administrators and detectives,” Lourie said.

An added benefit, he noted, is the decreased climate impact from an electric vehicle like the Mach-E.

State benchmarks have called for an eventual shift away from gas powered vehicles.

Locally, a number of groups like Sustainable Westborough, the town’s Climate Action Plan Task Force and the Westborough Rotary Club have all worked to promote electric vehicles, holding an electric vehicle information session in town late last month.

“We would like to be an example in town,” Lourie said of the opportunity to “go green” with a new vehicle purchase. “These vehicles can do the job.”

Proposal comes as police face staffing shortages

Lourie’s presentation on the Administrative Lieutenant position came during a larger
presentation with Deputy Chief Todd Minardi on staffing shortages within the Westborough Police Department.

Separate from their Town Meeting plans, the department has prepared a proposal to use
American Rescue Plan Act funding to fund the hiring of three new patrol officers in an effort to get closer to a 2019 recommendation calling for 15 new patrol officers by 2024.

The department has, so far, added five new positions since that recommendation.

Additional reporting by Stuart Foster