POUGHKEEPSIE – The City of Poughkeepsie Police Department swore in seven new officers, appointed seven others to the rank of detective and promoted three officers to the rank of sergeant. The new officers bolster the department’s ranks from 78 to 85. The official ceremony took place Friday morning in the community room at the Public Safety Building on Main Street.
“We welcome these new officers and are pleased to see these promotions,” said Mayor Rob Rolison. “For the sake of public safety, it’s imperative we have a strong, professional Police Department, and today’s hirings and promotions help us keep that solemn promise to the community.”
The new officers are: Anthony Tarantino, John Sullivan, Se’quan Heard, Hamilton Nunez, Gary Beahan, Nicholas Paradies and Christopher Warrick.
The officers promoted to Sergeant are: Matthew Hamel, Edwin Acken and Michael Longbard.
The officers promoted to Detective are: Sergeant Terrance Beam, Robert Haberski, Robert Stecher, Jeffrey Lee, Karen Zirbel, Bradley Sukeena and John Douglass.
The city Police Department is budgeted for 92 officers, and efforts to fill the ranks are continuing.
As part of their recruitment strategy, city police officials are providing free help to city residents taking part in the upcoming Police Officer/Deputy Sheriff Exam offered by Dutchess County on Sept. 18.
The Police Department has obtained a list of city residents scheduled to take the exam and wants to focus on hiring from within the community, one of the recommendations of the city’s Procedural Justice Committee that was included in the city’s Police Reform& Modernization Collaborative Plan sent to the state earlier this year.
“We are working diligently to recruit and hire more people from the city and have stepped up our efforts to reach people to take the examination,” said Police Chief Tom Pape. “With the examination being offered for free by the county and with free help available to prepare for the test, this is as an excellent opportunity for those who want to join our ranks.”
The City Police Department has led efforts to have the Dutchess County Department of Human Resources alter requirements of candidates applying for and taking the countywide police entrance exam. These changes now require a candidate to possess a high school diploma or equivalency but not 60 college credits initially. A candidate who successfully completes the Dutchess County Law Enforcement Academy will graduate with 30 college credits through Dutchess Community College and the SUNY system.
Upon completion, the recruit will have five years to complete an additional 30 college credits. The City recognizes the importance of education and therefore will pay the cost for higher education as memorialized in its current collective bargaining agreement with the Police. The more rigid college requirements had long been cited by community members as an impediment to hiring more candidates from the City of Poughkeepsie community.
The City Police Department also conducts a “Careers in Law Enforcement” program for local students, in part, to create a path for more diversity on the force, Chief Pape pointed out.
“Like other communities, we need a multi-dimensional strategy to broaden diversity in our ranks. We are taking tangible strides to achieve this that are showing results,” said Mayor Rolison.