FARMINGTON — Franklin County commissioners voted unanimously Wednesday to approve Sheriff Scott Nichols Sr.’s request to create a patrol lieutenant position and eliminate a sergeant and office-manager position.
The vote also established that the position will be a Level 4 pay grade, where the amount ranges from $16.71 to $21.05 per hour.
The position would be paid on a salary basis.
Commissioners also voted to approve the posting of the new patrol lieutenant position in-house.
This will give the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department two lieutenant positions. Lt. Niles Yeaton heads up the criminal investigation division.
It was the first commission meeting for Nichols and Chief Deputy Steve Lowell in their official capacity, which began Tuesday.
Lowell had held the sergeant’s position in the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department up until Dec. 31, when he became chief deputy.
The office manager position was already vacant. Former Manager Penny Camfferman took a dispatch position in the communications center last fall.
Prior to the vote, Nichols said he wanted to create the position and do it in a way that wouldn’t add cost to the county.
The new position will be paid for by the money that was set aside for both positions, he said.
He developed a job description for the patrol that was submitted to commissioners for review. According to the description, the new lieutenant would oversee patrol operations and report to the chief deputy and sheriff.
The lieutenant will provide direct supervision to the patrol supervisors assigned to the patrol division.
Each shift has a patrol supervisor, Nichols said.
The lieutenant will be responsible for implementing policy and its oversight.
The lieutenant would also work closely with the criminal division lieutenant to identify and implement plans to stop crime before it occurs and work as a team to investigate crime when it does occur.
The patrol lieutenant would also represent the Sheriff’s Department to the media as needed.
Nichols told commissioners he also wants to establish a dispatch advisory committee that will be made up of representatives of police, firefighters, emergency medical responders and the Emergency Management Agency from around the county.
It would give the stakeholders a voice in the communications center to examine ways to improve the facility and the standard operations procedure, he said. Nichols said he is expecting a letter from another agency in the county on dispatch operations.
“Throughout my campaign, I have heard complaints, and this will be a good way to get facts instead of rumors,” Nichols said.
A new communications center building is being constructed on county property on County Way in Farmington, which is where dispatch is currently handled. The building is across from the Sheriff’s Department building.
Any recommendations developed by the committee will be submitted to commissioners for review, Nichols said. He plans to work with county EMA Director Tim Hardy to set up a committee and develop its role, which will need to be reviewed and approved by commissioners.
Commissioner Fred Hardy of New Sharon said that he wanted to make sure that the commissioners are kept informed on what is going on and that they receive suggestions before making their decisions.
For this reason, Nichols said, the committee will be considered advisory.
In another matter, commissioners voted to officially retire Odin, the police dog. He was Deputy David Rackliffe’s K-9 partner for several years and now lives with him in Weld. Rackliffe now partners with a younger dog, Justice.