The state Division of Human Rights has upheld workplace discrimination complaints made by female staff at the Saratoga Spring's Police Department.
As a result, the department must make available adequate bathrooms and showers for the 15 female officers and dispatchers on site. The eight female officers and seven dispatchers and support staff have not had a bathroom of their own. And, their locker room is nothing more than a converted, and cramped, janitor's closet, said city officials.
City officials have already moved on getting the work funded and started but are calling the renovations yet another patch to an aging and outdated police station.
We are taking a thin slice of pie and slicing it thinner it's not a long term solution. We've continued to put Band-aids on a gaping wound and it is starting to show," said Public Safety Commissioner Ronald Kim.
Kim and Department of Public Works Commissioner Anthony Scirocco have worked out the logistics to make the necessary renovations and fund them. Scirocco will provide the labor free of charge and Kim will allocate anywhere from $5,000 to $6,000 for construction supplies, he said. The money is earmarked in a capital fund reserved for small city projects.
The proposal is to take a roll call/training/booking room and cut it in half, doubling the current locker room, said Kim. Down the hall, a supervisor's locker-room will be converted to a women's bathroom. The bathroom will be built adjacent to an existing men's locker room where necessary plumbing is already in place.
Comparatively, Saratoga's Police department employs a rather large number of women than other local departments, said Lt. Linda Quattrini, a 26-year department veteran and the highest-ranking woman officer. She works the midnight to 8 a.m. shift Monday through Friday.
Quattrini joined the department shortly after Sandy Arpei wrestled her way into the department in a court challenge in the early 1970s. Since then, the number of women officers has steadily increased, especially in the last five years, and the accoutrements have always lacked, Quattrini said.