PALMER, MA — From now on, police recruits must remain employed by the town at least five years, otherwise they will be required to reimburse the town about $6,200 in academy costs.
Palmer Town Council unanimously passed a resolution Monday that requires new officers to sign an agreement allowing the town to recoup training and other costs such as clothing and testing fees administered by the academy.
Police Chief John Janulewicz requested the council adopt the resolution.
In response to a question from Council President Barbara Barry about why the change was needed, the chief said the department has lost officers in the past to other agencies. He also said the reimbursement requirement is becoming standard practice for municipal police departments.
“The reason is, it is such an expense,” Janulewicz said. “It gives an added incentive for officers to complete the academy.”
In addition to the $3,000 tuition, “equipment and clothing is another $2,000,” the chief told the council. He said there is a medical fee of $500, site testing is $500, and the physical agility test is $150.
New officers are required to complete training run by Municipal Police Training Council, which operates the Western Massachusetts Police Academy. The training bestows on officers who graduate skills and certifications needed to legally carry a gun while on duty, make arrests and fight crime.
The new rule also require cadets who flunk out of the academy to reimburse the town.
The rule permits the town to deduct money from the officer’s last paycheck. It also says Palmer can seek redress via the court system.
The chief says the town could opt to waive the $6,200 depending on “extenuating circumstances.”