Worcester County Nov 20 2016 The Worcester County Sheriff’s Office will not be providing additional security for Wal-Mart during the holiday sales rush, following the Worcester County Commissioners 5-2 vote Tuesday to reject a proposal that would have put on-duty deputies on the property for certain shifts.
The memorandum of understanding between Wal-Mart and the sheriff’s office would have obligated the retailer to pay the county $75 an hour for each deputy assigned.
The request, presented by Lt. Michael Bowen of the sheriff’s office, included three deputies to patrol the Wal-Mart parking lot for the annual Black Friday sales event, beginning at 6 p.m. Thursday night and lasting until 8 a.m. Friday morning. Also one officer would be scheduled to patrol the parking lot beginning at 6 p.m. Christmas Eve and ending at 8 p.m. Christmas Day.
“So we’re going to have an officer in Wal-Mart on Christmas day?” Commissioner Joe Mitrecic asked.
“No they’re closed,” Bowen replied. “We’re providing security for the property.”
Mitrecic said although he wanted to support the request, he was concerned that the reimbursement rate of $75 an hour might not be enough to cover the cost, depending on the deputies’ pay scales. Were that to happen, he said, the county would be liable for the difference because these security watches would be occurring on county time.
Commissioner Chip Bertino also worried that if higher ranking officers signed up for the detail — the opportunity would be open to all officers — any overtime that might lead to could be significantly higher that $75.
“It could be, but I don’t perceive that it will be,” Bowen said.
Mitrecic continued raising the pay rate concerns.
“I don’t want to give them a bill for $75 and then it cost us $90,” he said.
Commissioner Ted Elder also asked if the $75 rate would cover the pay of higher-ranking officers.
“I don’t foresee anybody on the command staff signing up to work at Wal-Mart,” Bowen said.
Mitrecic added that younger officers without families generally sign up for the extra detail.
Commissioner President Jim Bunting also questioned the appropriateness of the arrangement.
“I don’t think our Sherriff’s Department should be doing security patrol,” he said.
Commissioners Bud Church and Diana Purnell cast the dissenting votes in the commissioners’ decision to reject the proposal.