Baldwin Borough police create deputy chief position
By the start of 2020, Baldwin Borough police Chief Tony Cortazzo hopes to have a full rank of officers in place.
That includes filling the newly-created deputy police chief role, promoting two officers to sergeant and hiring officers to fill out the 24-member department.
Baldwin Borough has not had a deputy police chief in the past. Instead, the department’s hierarchy included the chief with two lieutenants under him and, in most recent years, two sergeants, reporting up the line.
Cortazzo, a longtime Baldwin detective who took over as police chief in February, says there are benefits to having a deputy chief, who is a second nonunion member of the department. He’s also noticed other departments in the area utilizing this structure.
“It’s more transparent,” he said. “This way, we don’t have a member of the bargaining unit investigating complaints against an officer” who is also a member of that same bargaining unit.
While Cortazzo emphasizes there are not many complaints against officers in Baldwin, in the past, any such complaints would be investigated by a lieutenant or detective, both of whom are in the same union as the officers.
The deputy chief now will be the one to handle all internal investigations, Cortazzo said.
The deputy police chief also will be the clear person to step in and oversee the department if the chief is away. In the past, it would rotate through the supervisors, Cortazzo said.
The chief also sees a benefit for Baldwin residents in having a deputy chief.
Cortazzo always tries to answer any resident need — whether it be a stop sign or neighborhood complaint — within 24 hours. Adding a deputy chief will give the community a second person who can directly answer their concerns.
“It gives the police department and the community two administrative level positions that can tend to the community’s needs,” he said.
With the recent retirement of both lieutenants in Baldwin — Lt. Matthew Kearns retired in January and Lt. Craig Cavlovic retired in June — the time was right to switch to a new structure.
“There’s a clear line of succession,” Cortazzo said.
Baldwin police work on four 12-hour crews, with two daylight and two nightside crews, with hours set for a year.
Each crew is overseen by a supervisor.
In recent years, that meant two crews were overseen by lieutenants and two were overseen by sergeants.
Instead, Cortazzo plans to have four sergeants, one overseeing each crew, all of whom will report to the deputy chief, who will report to the chief.
Baldwin has two sergeants, which means two more are needed.
A sergeant’s test is scheduled for September, with 10 officers expressing interest, Cortazzo said.
Officers must be a senior patrolman with at least four complete years on the job to qualify.
The borough is looking to hire three officers, including the deputy chief, to round out its force.
A written test for entry level patrolman was administered in June, with 25 applicants.
Baldwin Borough council in June passed an ordinance creating the deputy police chief job and authorizing the advertisement of the position, borough manager Bob Firek said.
Cortazzo presented the idea of creating a deputy police chief role during his job interview process, Firek said.
“It makes sense,” he said.
The requirements for the deputy chief job were set the same as they were for the police chief job opening.
Applicants have until July 8 to apply for the deputy police chief job.