Military activation trims county staff

Local government bureaucracies have adjusted their operations to fill the void left by employees called to active-duty military service in preparation for a war with Iraq, agency representatives say.

Twenty-two Prince William County employees who are part of National Guard or Army Reserve units have been called to service from four local government agencies.

Eleven police officers, six fire and rescue employees, and one each from the Prince William-Manassas regional jail and the Public Works Department, respectively, have been deployed.

While the void of any employee poses challenges, the duties performed by the absent personnel are being efficiently covered, representatives from each agency said.

Of 441 sworn law-enforcement officers, 11 is a substantial number to have absent from the rolls, according to 1st Sgt. Kim Chinn, Prince William police spokeswoman.

The employees called up are patrol officers who work beats all over Prince William County.

Although police officials have had to adjust schedules, and may cancel leave for some officers, all shifts are being covered, Chinn said.

“We still have to maintain calls for service.”

Six people make up a tactical fire unit, said Battalion Chief C. Hadden Culp, fire and rescue spokesman.

“We do have enough depth in the organization that we#&039;re not showing any service depreciation as a result of that,” Culp said.

Fire and rescue has factored absence into their organizational plans “so that we can cover for jury duty, military leave, sick leave, training,” and all other types of unforeseen events,” Culp said. “We#&039;re prepared for this.”

The department has a staffing office that monitors the number of people on duty each day, and determines how resources can best be utilized to fill any gap that may arise.

One corrections officer has been called away from the Prince William-Manassas regional jail, Col. Glendell Hill, jail superintendent said.

In order to fill the gaps, the jail#&039;s employees may incur some overtime, but it will be “very minimal,” Hill said.

“It#&039;s a lot easier for us to make up the void for one rather than half a dozen,” Hill said.

The duties that belonged to the watershed management site inspector working for the Public Works Department are being dispersed among the remaining inspectors, said Deb Oliver, department spokeswoman.

The inspector#&039;s charge is to ensure building site construction fits within water quality and code requirements.

The Manassas City Police Department also has officers who are in National Guard or Reserve units. To date, none have been called to active duty, according to Sgt. Bill Goodman, department spokesman. Some of the officers have been told by their units to be prepared in the event of deployment orders.

Manassas Park police have two officers on standby, according to Sgt. Karen Barton, city police spokeswoman. One will probably be deployed within 30 days, she said.

The deployment may cause the department some problems, but police will be able to handle any difficulties, she said.

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