City challenges officer’s statement

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 5, 2005

The city is challenging a detective’s recent comment that nearly two dozen employees left the Suffolk Police Department for greener pastures last year.

In a Feb. 27 story about the ongoing study on compensation for public safety employees, Det. Joyce Williams, president of the Suffolk Police Officers Association, told the Suffolk News-Herald that the department lost &uot;more than 20 officers-with more than 100 years of experience between them-in the last year, all for more money.&uot;

City officials contend her comment was not based on accurate information.

Email newsletter signup

In actuality, 16 employees left the department during 2004 for a range of reasons, said Police Chief William Freeman.

Specifically, said Dennis Craff, city spokesman:

*One officer died;

*One retired;

*One was terminated for inappropriate behavior;

*One resigned to avoid discipline;

*Four didn’t pass necessary courses at the Hampton Roads Police Academy;

*Four gave no reason;

*Four left for other jobs that were not in neighboring localities.

Today, all but six of the 163 police department positions are filled, Freeman said.

&uot;That’s 96 percent, a pretty good number in anyone’s book,&uot; Craff said.

Springsted Inc., the Minnesota-based firm conducting the pay study, is expected to turn over the preliminary results to city officials within the coming weeks, he said.

The document is one of several that will be used in shaping the city’s 2006 operating budget.

Efforts to reach Williams were unsuccessful.