LYNNFIELD — Chief Nick Secatore is looking to add an additional officer as part of the Police Department’s recommended fiscal year 2023 budget.

Secatore unveiled the Police Department’s proposed $3,498,799 budget for FY23 during the Select Board’s March 7 meeting. The proposed spending plan represents a 1.6 percent increase over FY22’s $3,444,221 budget.

The police chief proposed adding a full-time patrolman-detective position in the FY23 budget, which would increase the Police Department’s roster from 22 to 23 officers.

“This position is for a full-time patrolman-detective who will be taken out of the patrol function and assigned to investigations full-time,” said Secatore in an email sent to the Villager.

The Police Department’s current staffing model involves having Sgt./Detective Jared Provost serving as the department’s detective supervisor. Patrolmen/Detectives Anthony Hnath and Jonathan Duzz assist Provost with investigations.

“Our current model uses the detective supervisor assisted by part-time detectives that do not have any dedicated investigative time,” said Secatore in an email. “They are assigned to the patrol function full-time.”

Secatore told the Select Board that the Police Department currently has one officer in field training and another officer is in the academy. He said the patrolman-detective would address several areas for the Police Department.

“We need investigative resources and administrative resources,” said Secatore. “We also need to fill our shifts. We have a couple of shifts that are always open. Adding a full-time investigator is going to give our detective supervisor some flexibility to do some of the administrative needs that have been put on him. I know that firsthand because I was in that role for many years.”

Secatore said adding a patrolman-detective will allow Provost to balance his time between investigating incidents and managing administrative responsibilities.

“All of our supervisors have administrative responsibilities,” said Secatore. “We have no dedicated administrative officers outside of the chief’s position and the captain’s position. We think adding an additional position will allow us to provide those services plus investigative services. The full-time investigator would have someone to work with full-time. Right now, he is tapping into part-time investigators who are patrolmen.”

Secatore recalled that the Police Department’s salary structures have changed.

“Some money has been saved in the budget,” said Secatore. “In fiscal year 2022, I asked for and received a $57,000 increase, which was contractual. We are asking for a $58,000 increase this year, which is right in line with last year. We are asking for another body with that. We understand resources are tight, but we don’t think we are asking for an unreasonable amount of money. I think the additional officer will really help bring the department to the next level.”

Select Board member Phil Crawford inquired if the new patrolman-detective would be promoted from within and if an entry-level patrolman would be hired to replace him.

Secatore said yes.

Select Board Chairman Dick Dalton recalled that the Police Department will be fully staffed for the first time in 10 years by the start of FY23. He expressed concerns about adding the patrolman-detective position.

“As I look at it right now, we have come a long way from where we were,” said Dalton. “I don’t know if the timing is the best right now. If departments are not level-funding and level staffing, I think it’s our job to challenge that.”

Secatore said the 22 officers will cover all of the Police Department’s shifts, but he said there will still be open shifts that have to be covered. In addition to reducing overtime costs, he said the patrolman-detective position will give the Police Department “investigative and administrative flexibility.”

Crawford recalled that the Police Department has not been fully staffed in the nine years he has served on the Select Board. He asked if overtime costs will decrease if the Police Department is fully staffed at 22 officers and increased to 23 officers.

Secatore said having 22 officers working will result in a decline patrol-related overtime costs. He said adding the new patrolman-detective position will reduce overtime costs when investigations occur.

Capital budget

After Secatore gave an overview of the proposed operating budget for FY23, he discussed the Police Department’s recommended $207,500 capital budget.

Secatore has requested one unmarked police cruiser, totaling $47,500.

“We have not received a lot of vehicles in the capital budget during the last two fiscal years,” said Secatore. “Town Administrator Rob Dolan has helped us obtain some funds through the ARPA stimulus money, which brings our capital request for vehicles to one this year. We haven’t purchased an unmarked vehicle in the last several years, and our patrolmen vehicles will be funded by the ARPA fund.”

Dalton asked Secatore to provide the Select Board with a fleet vehicle replacement plan.

Secatore expressed his support for Dalton’s request.

“We have an aging fleet,” said Secatore. “The plan to replace these vehicles will not all occur at the same time.”

Secatore also requested $15,000 as part of a joint Police-Fire Department radio upgrade project.

“We are looking to increase the fiber optic network by bringing a connection to MarketStreet from the Walnut Street area,” said Secatore.

Secatore has also requested eight audio-video recording systems, which have a $30,000 price tag.

“These are not body cameras,” said Secatore. “They are portable audio and video recorders for investigators and officers who need them. The expense is housing the data on the backend, but the units themselves are not that expensive. This will allow officers to take these audio-video recorders into the field.”

In addition, Secatore requested $75,000 to fund the first year of replacing the dispatch console. He said the new console will be mobile and can be moved.

“The dispatch console is 12-years-old,” said Secatore. “It includes the radio communication system, the seat and equipment such as the monitors. It’s a two-year project. This can integrate with the radio system we have built out over the last six years.”

Secatore also requested $30,000 for radios.

“We will be able to upgrade our radios that are between 10- to 14-years-old,” said Secatore.

Lastly, Secatore requested $10,000 to replace four aging laptops that are located in police cruisers.

In response to a question from Crawford, Secatore said the equipment requests included in the capital budget will be able to be used in a renovated and expanded Police Station if townspeople approve the project.