Kisco Fix: Hire Police Officers

Seventh in a series.

As this space has written, there are quite a few projects and tasks that need to be performed in Mount Kisco. Some of these are small capital projects while others might involve hiring a new employee or passing a new local law. Others are tasks, like the one highlighted today, that need to be completed by the Village Board to make the village run better.

At the last board meeting, the Board of Trustees introduced Jeff Slotoroff, Mount Kisco newest police officer to complete training at the Westchester County Police Academy. Jeff Slotoroff was one of two officers hired in August. The other officer, Samuel Fagin, did not have to go to the WCPA because he transferred to Mount Kisco from the New York Police Department.

Both new officers have impressive credentials. Jeff Slotoroff is an EMT that was commended by the Mount Kisco Village Board in May 2010 for detecting smoke from a building on Maple Avenue and then entering the building several times to wake residents and help them out safely. Samuel Fagin, in addition to his police training in New York City, is a graduate of Duke Law School.

The problem is that, while the hiring of Fagin and Slotoroff was a good start, there are not enough officers to staff the Mount Kisco Police Department.

Using a recent count, there are 30 officers, including senior officers, currently on the Mount Kisco Police Department roster. The budgeted headcount is for 37 officers. That leaves Mount Kisco approximately 20% below its head count. Mount Kisco’s headcount is further lowered by the number of officers that are on leave for medical disability or military leave. That leaves Mount Kisco either unprotected or paying officers overtime to meet minimum staffing levels.

It is difficult for Mount Kisco to hire officers because the Village’s contract with the PBA expired on May 31, 2007. The PBA has now been working without a contract for three and one-half years, effectively leaving Mount Kisco with the lowest-paid police force in Westchester County. The Village Board, however, has also rejected candidates deemed qualified by the Mount Kisco Police Department.

The Mount Kisco Chief of Police had ambitious plans to protect and serve the residents of Mount Kisco. Too bad he has been unable to initiate his plans as a result of a lack of officers. Mount Kisco needs to hire more officers.

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