By Rick Pfeiffer email@example.com
Niagara Gazette — It’s the largest class of new cops to join the Falls Police Department since the mid-1990s and their boss expects them to have an immediate impact.
“We need them to fill police cars and we need them to fill positions in booking and the jail,” Falls Police Superintendent Bryan DalPorto said. “They will bring us up to full strength and that will help us decrease overtime.”
The new recruits arrive at a time when police manpower is typically stretched thin with officers on summer vacations. Combine that with openings created by retirements and officers who are off duty with injuries and you have a recipe for an over-worked police force.
“We’ve been short-handed and you can only ask people to work so much overtime,” DalPorto said. “They have lives outside of police work too. So these positions need to be filled.”
DalPorto is taking a unique approach to deploying the rookies. Rather than send all of them to the Niagara Country Law Enforcement Academy at one time, he will have seven rookies begin at the academy on Monday, while seven others report to police headquarters for two weeks in intensive training to prepare them to work in booking and the jail.
The 15th recruit, a transfer from the Town of Niagara Police Department will begin field training and hit the streets immediately. The new hires represent the top 15 candidates on a brand new civil service list.
“We’re doing this, really, out of necessity,” DalPorto said. “We need to fill patrol cars and we can used (non-certified recruits) in the jail and booking and put certified officers, who are there now, on the streets.”
The recruits who are assigned to booking and the jail will going into the police academy in the fall, after he current class graduates.
“Ideally, we would like (the entire class of recruits) to go the academy full-time, but we’re not dealing with the ideal here,” DalPorto said. “And my goal is to get the most officers out on the streets.”
When the recruits assigned to the jail and booking begin attending the police academy, they’ll do it part-time so they can continue to work their headquarters assignments. While that means it will take them longer to complete the academy training, DalPorto said the department will benefit from their continued work in booking and the jail.
Mayor Paul Dyster said the superintendent’s plan is a creative way to address manpower issues.
“I think it’s innovative and I think it’s an example of the leadership he’s bringing to the department,” Dyster said.
In addition to swearing-in the new rookie class, DalPorto has made numerous reassignments and promotions of department personnel in his first six months on the job. He called the changes “exciting.”
“The hiring of the new officers and all the promotions we’ve had has allowed us to move the department in the direction I wanted,” DalPorto said. “And that is to be more community oriented and better at problem solving.”