The city has a new acting police chief.
Mayor Bill VanSuch has appointed Sgt. Dave Taybus, who has been on the police force for 18 years, to lead the department in the absence of police Chief Gus Sarigiano-poulos.
Sarigianopoulos has been using sick leave for the past two to three months and still has a great deal of accumulated sick time available, VanSuch said Wednesday.
“I have no idea what his status is,” VanSuch said, adding that Sarigianopoulos has not contacted him or any other city administrators to indicate when he might return from leave. Sarigianopoulos has been chief for 12 years.
Taybus took the post as of Sunday. He said he intends to be a “working chief” who will go on patrols. The city is increasing his salary from $40,000 to the chief’s salary, which is $46,000 a year.
VanSuch said he will look at hiring another officer “down the road.”
The city has been under its complement of 16 to 18 officers in the years since it went into fiscal emergency in 2004. Including Taybus and the city’s K-9 handler, who left last month to serve in Afghanistan, the department has 13 full-time officers on the force. The city also has been struggling to keep overtime costs down in the department.
The city has been expecting to ask for release from fiscal emergency soon, and council passed a resolution Wednesday night to ask for that release at a Jan. 28 meeting of a state-mandated commission that oversees its financial issues.
The mayor also said a new K-9 officer will be training with the city’s police dog, Storm, who has been in a kennel since the beginning of December when his handler left.
Officer Eric Manning will train for three to four weeks in February with the dog, a 4-year-old Belgian malinois the city got two years ago. The new training will cost $3,000. The money will come from the city’s Law Enforcement Trust Fund.