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One-year police contract approved by commission

A one-year police union contract was approved Monday by the Colby-Abby police commission that includes 75-cent raises and higher health insurance deductibles for all officers.

Members of the commission and representatives of the Colby-Abbotsford Professional Police Association spent about two months negotiating the terms of the 17-page document, which spells out the rights, responsibilities and benefi ts of the six represented officers.

The new contract includes three changes from the previous contract, which covered the years of 2018 to 2020. One major change was to make the contract expire after one year instead of three. A second change dealt with the deduction of union dues from officers’ paychecks.

In the wages section, a 75-cent across -the-board raise was included, bringing the base wage of a patrolman up to $26.09 per hour as of Jan. 1, 2021. As always, offi cers also get longevity pay equal to $5 per month for each year of service beyond their first.

Also, single officers will pay $500 toward the health insurance deductibles and those with a family plan will pay up to $1,000. Both of those amounts are double what they were before.

At a Colby city council meeting last week, Ald. Dan Hederer said officers chose to accept an extra 25-cent raise in exchange for paying higher deductibles.

In a related matter, police chief Jason Bauer announced that the department has been accepted into a regional health insurance co-op that promises to minimize cost increases over time.

Premiums offered through the co-op are about 1.5 percent higher than what the department is currently paying, but premiums are expected to stay the same for 2021 instead of increasing.

In order to officially join the co-op, Bauer said the department needs to pay one month’s premium in advance, which equals about $10,000 for the CAPD. That amount will be refunded after 25 months, but the department also needs to make a one-time $100 stock purchase and pay a $200 annual membership fee.

Deductibles under the co-op’s plan are $2,000 for a single plan (with the department paying $1,500) and $4,000 for a family plan ($1,000 paid by the department). This represents a $1,000 decrease for single plans and a $2,000 decrease for family plans compared to what the department was paying prior to joining the co-op.

A minimum three-year commitment was required for the CAPD to join.

_ Bauer told the commission that Lt. Alex Bowman recently completed firearms instructor training in Eau Claire that will allow officers to do more target practice at the shooting range. He also said that he has signed his officers up for online training courses so they are able to complete the 24-hour minimum annual training required by the Wisconsin Department of Justice. The cost is $775.

Going forward, Bauer said he plans on switching back to in-person training as soon as COVID-19 conditions improve.

_ The commission approved $18,870 in monthly expenditures.

_ Deployment of the K-9 resulted in six drug arrests last month, Bauer said.