Police and fire chiefs say staffing will lag

The police chief said he doesn't expect the first new officer on the streets before November.
WARREN -- The police and fire chiefs say it will be several months before their departments will return to full strength.
Police Chief John Mandopoulos said this morning that Tuesday's passage of a 0.5-percent income tax means that police and firefighters who were laid off as part of a budget crunch can be called back to work.
Trouble is, not all the cops want to return.
"We have six police officers that can now come back, but four of those have other jobs," Mandopoulos said.
That leaves him with two he expects to return.
"It's a shame because I am losing four very good officers, and there isn't anything I can do about it." Mandopoulos said.
Firefighters: Fire Chief Jay Mulligan, meanwhile, expects five firefighters who were laid off in January 2000 to take back their jobs.
Eighteen firefighters were initially laid off. Some have been called back, some took jobs in other cities and some were transferred to other city departments.
Mulligan said he should know better at the beginning of next week if the five who are available to return will accept the recall.
The chiefs said that to fill vacancies in their departments the city has to go through a long procedure.
People interested in becoming police officers or firefighters must take a civil service test and then undergo background checks.
"I don't expect the first new hire to be on the streets before November," Mandopoulos said.
The police chief added that the city also plans to bring back the dog warden next week.

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