Columbus creates master police officer position

Published 10:00 pm Wednesday, October 26, 2016

COLUMBUS – In order to create incentive for long-standing police officers as well as help increase officer training, Columbus Town Council approved a new position last week that comes with a $1 per hour pay increase called a Master Officer position.

Columbus Town Council met Thursday, Oct. 20 and approved the new position that will be offered to officers with either three or four years employment with the town.

The position will be given to any officer who has been with the town for three years and has completed four specialty certifications or any officer who has been with the town four years and completed at least three specialty certifications.

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Columbus Police Chief Chris Beddingfield made the request to town council last week.

Beddingfield said there is money left over in the budget to pay for the position after the town did not replace a captain position as well as one current employee not using the town’s health insurance.

“We’ve got officers now that have been here four years and they have all these certifications who make the same money as officers being hired right out of the academy,” Beddingfield said.

Councilman Josh Denton said he knows some officers have to work other jobs on their days off just to make ends meet.

“I think it’s important to keep people here and we need to offer them some incentive,” Denton said.

Beddingfield said currently only one officer is eligible for the master officer position but there will be others eligible as time goes on.

Columbus Mayor Eric McIntyre asked if the position would put those officers in a higher supervisory role. Beddingfield said it will be a salary increase and younger officers will recognize that the person is a master officer who has a little more experience.

The training in order to achieve the master officer position includes: crisis intervention team, chemical analyst, speed measurement, standardized field sobriety, interview and interrogation, at scene crash investigation, child safety seat specialist, police law institute, N.C. Highway Patrol Driving School or Motorcycle Officer School, CICP or traffic certification (N.C. Justice Academy), N.C. Criminal Justice Standards Intermediate Certification and bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university.