The council started working on the ordinance six months ago, when police Chief Dennis Alexander reported to the council that some officers were working for other police departments and coming to work tired. Alexander said he had received information that one Coatesville officer worked a 16-hour shift for another department immediately before an eight-hour shift for the Coatesville department.
"We felt that officers working other jobs were coming to work exhausted," Alexander said when interviewed after the meeting. "It affected their paper work, split-second decisions - everything they do."
Alexander also said he believed that some of those police officers were taking excessive sick time, although he said he "can't prove that."
The council also was concerned about the possibility of an officer's sustaining an injury while on duty in an uninsured municipality. Alexander said that Parkesburg, which employs two Coatesville police officers, did not insure the Coatesville officers, and that Coatesville would have to pay the cost in sick time if one of the officers were injured.
Coatesville police officers also work for police departments in Sadsbury, West Sadsbury, South Coatesville, Valley Township, East Fallowfield and Caln.
The ordinance would allow the police officers to continue working part-time jobs that did not involve police work. However, officers would not be allowed to work any other job during the eight hours immediately preceding their shifts for the Coatesville department. This clause of the ordinance would also apply to part-time officers.
In another police-related matter, the council gave Alexander the go-ahead to enroll Coatesville officers in a 40-hour course in crime prevention.
The course is being organized by Don Saddler of the state Commission on Crime and Delinquency, who gave a brief presentation to the council. Alexander expects to enroll 25 percent of the Coatesville department in the course and wants to find about 20 other officers from neighboring municipalities to participate.
The course will qualify participants as instructors in crime prevention who can talk to local groups, according to Alexander. The course will cost $10 per participant.