© 2024 WRVO Public Media
NPR News for Central New York
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Syracuse Police Department aims to hire retired officers as SROs and city hall security

Ellen Abbott
WRVO News (file photo)

The Syracuse Police Department is getting creative in filling vacancies.

The nearly $57 million proposed budget for Syracuse Police includes a proposed staff of 423. Police Chief Joe Cecile said the department currently has a staff of 379.

Cecile said over two nights of orientation, about 43 people total showed up.

"It was just two or three years ago we would have five orientation nights, sometimes six and 45 to 50 people would show up each night for a class of about 35," Cecile said. "It's going to be it's going to be a struggle, again, to put anywhere near double digits."

Syracuse Councilor Chol Majok chairs the Public Safety Committee. He said, like departments across the country, Syracuse Police is struggling with recruitment.

"We have to find ways to be creative in filling necessary spaces where we need officers," Majok said. "Those are the innovative ways we are trying to embark on, which is to go back into the pool of our retired officers to see we can use them in some way that continue to provide services for the people."

Cecile said the Syracuse Police Department aims to enter into an agreement with the Syracuse School District to hire, train and supervise special police officers to be placed in elementary and grade schools.

"Those are going to be retired police officers, in some cases will be retired [School Resource Officers] that are going to be placed in schools to create an added layer of security and comfort in those schools that currently don't have SROs," Cecile said. "The school district is going to reimburse almost every item in there other than weapons — they aren't allowed to buy that."

Cecile said they are also beginning the process of hiring retired officers for city hall as well — notingcouncilor's concerns about security.

"It will be officers some of you have engaged with over the course of your careers, because it will be probably officers who have recently retired and decided to come back to do this job," Cecile said.

Those officers would work the traditional operating hours of city hall as well as come in for events like public safety meetings when there might be a little more concern.

Ava Pukatch joined the WRVO news team in September 2022. She previously reported for WCHL in Chapel Hill, NC and earned a degree in Journalism and Media from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. At UNC, Ava was a Stembler Scholar and a reporter and producer for the award-winning UNC Hussman broadcast Carolina Connection. In her free time, Ava enjoys theatre, coffee and cheering on Tar Heel sports. Find her on Twitter @apukatch.