City Police Chief Troy Westfall will be paid $55,339 a year and health benefits through 2010 under an agreement reached by the City Council.
Westfall was hired in June through a provisional appointment and recently evaluated by the Police Commission, which recommended Wednesday to the City Council to set the salary. Benefits include fully paid family health insurance for three years, with a local share paid by the chief beginning in 2011.
Any salary increases will be based on percentages given in local employee contracts as approved by the Police Commission.
Westfall, prior to the Council session, said he is "most proud of our department" and the changes he has made. "People are happy to do their jobs, and our efficiency has improved."
The department has expanded due to the opening of the Seneca Allegany Casino. Currently, there are 17 full-time officers and seven part-timers, with three openings in each class, Westfall said.
The department has completed 1,000 calls, the chief said, quoting state statistics -- more than any other police department its size.
He bases his leadership role on communications, consistency and fairness and has implemented biweekly general staff meetings. The entire department meets quarterly.
While the chief's role is mostly administrative, he did manage to take to the streets on Halloween. Armed with the department's newest equipment, a Taser, he and other officers found themselves in pursuit of a man.
"Once I shouted, 'Taser, Taser, " Westfall said, "the man stopped and dropped and pleaded, 'Don't do it. "
Westfall and another officer received special training in the Taser and then held classes for other officers. Also, the department has the added services of part-time Officer Mary McQueen and Robin, a 7-year-old golden retriever trained in narcotics and cadaver detection and trailing.