MAHOPAC, N.Y. - The Town Board hired two more police officers recently and promoted one to sergeant.
The hirings bring the total to six new officers who have joined the force over the past three months.
Three years ago, the board sought to initiate a feasibility study to look at the possibility of consolidating its police force with other municipalities around the county, saying that maintaining the Carmel PD, with a budget of more than $9 million, was not fiscally sustainable. The move was widely criticized, especially by the police union, which feared the town was looking to dissolve the force, and the study never got off the ground.
However, since then, the board has taken an about-face on the issue and has made strides in rebuilding the police force to its previous staffing levels.
“I would hope tonight will show that what this board has done over the past several months will dispel any myths that refer to our support of the police department,” said Councilman Mike Barile at the board’s Aug. 15 meeting. “We have re-staffed the police department; we are doing other things for the police department and it is a continued work in progress to get better. This board stands behind [the police department] 110 percent and it’s only going to get better.”
Supervisor Ken Schmitt said there are currently three officers out on disability and they are not expected to return to work. He said it was important to replace them, make scheduling easier, reduce costly overtime pay and relieve pressure on the existing staff.
At last week’s meeting, the board appointed Brian Forde and Brian Sillery to the department. Both will begin on Monday, Aug. 27.
Forde, a Kent resident, served more than five years with the Kent Police Department.
“His resume is really impressive. He has a lot of training and experience in the town of Kent,” Schmitt said. “We know he’s going to fit in well here with the officers of the Carmel Police Department. He will be a big asset to us.”
This will be Sillery’s first job as a police officer. A Putnam Valley resident, he attended the Rockland County Police Academy where he received the Rockland County Sheriff’s Award for Excellence in physical fitness.
The board also promoted Officer James Terrazas to the rank of sergeant, effective immediately.
“He started out as a dispatcher for us and he also served our country in Afghanistan as a sergeant in the Army Rangers,” said Police Chief Mike Cazzari. “Since 2007, he’s been a police officer here. He’s hard-working and does everything we ask him to do. So, I am honored to bring him up for promotion.”
The families of all three officers were on hand to watch the swearing-in ceremonies.