Officers offered buy-outs

The Dickinson Police Department has undergone several changes in the last few weeks and some officers are now looking to retire early, officials say.

The Dickinson Police Department has undergone several changes in the last few weeks and some officers are now looking to retire early, officials say.

Since eliminating the rank of lieutenant in the department as part of a reorganization, the three lieutenants were recently offered an option to exit the department, said Police Chief Chuck Rummel.

"The city is giving them a buy-out option," Rummel said. "It's to help them get to the place where they could retire if they choose to."

Officers must have 30 years of experience to retire and Lt. Rod Banyai is eligible, Rummel said. However, Lt. Dave Wallace and Lt. Bill Leach still have a few more years left.

City Administrator Shawn Kessel said two of the lieutenants requested severance packages and he countered the offers.


"We issued the counter to all three of them because we want to make sure we're treating everybody fairly and equally, so that's why we did that," Kessel said. "We're working our best to figure out what's going to happen next, but if they decide to accept that severance then we don't need to deal with the next step."

If the lieutenants choose not to accept the offers, Rummel said there will be no recourse.

"We gave them 21 days to consider the severance packages and if they choose not to execute those, then they become essentially null and void and then we talk about the other options at that time," Kessel said.

Most city departments have undergone restructuring to become more efficient, Kessel said, and that is the plan for DPD.

The original plan was to allow the lieutenants' positions to dissolve through promotion or retirement, but more recently, officials have discussed demoting the lieutenants to complete the restructure. A demotion would also mean a pay cut to the lieutenants, Kessel said.

There are other options the city would have to consider, Kessel said, but he would not say what they were. However, nobody will be fired from their position because of the reorganization, he said.

The process is not a disciplinary measure and none of the lieutenants have done anything wrong, Kessel and Rummel said.

The police captain position was vacated by Stewart Stenberg in January and made into two positions filled by Capt. Dustin Dassinger and Capt. Joe Cianni. Both officers were sergeants prior to their promotion.


"This was a decision based on what we felt would be the best leadership for the future of the Dickinson Police Department," Kessel said. "In no way did any of those lieutenants do something wrong to not get the job."

However, Rummel said there are still bad feelings in the department.

"Any time you go through a promotional process and then you go through a restructuring process there are going to be hurt feelings," Capt. Dassinger said.

The lieutenants are some of the most experienced officers in the department, Kessel said, but their longevity did not get them promoted.

"If we look back at our promotional process for our department, there has been other officers in transition in this same type of environment," Cianni said.

Rummel said though there was some disorientation at DPD while the reorganization began, things seem to be working well now.

"The decisions that were made were very difficult," Kessel said. "Those three lieutenants have dedicated a lot of their lives to us, to the department and to the city, and we're very appreciative of that."

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