By joe gorman
After hiring seven new officers this past summer, Police Chief Rod Foley wants to add four or five before year’s end.
The chief said he was planning on asking the administration after the Labor Day holiday if the funds would be available to bring the officers on.
He said that if he can’t have five more, he would like to hire as many as finances allow.
The new hires are to offset a wave of retirements in the department in recent years. Since he became chief in 2011, Foley has brought 24 new officers to the force.
The chief has said the benchmark is 152 officers, and though he is at that benchmark now, he expects one more retirement by the end of the year and possibly a couple of others.
Five of the seven officers added this summer have 75 percent of their salaries paid for by a federal grant to encourage the hiring of veterans of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Two other officers were hired under that grant last October.
Finance Director David Bozanich said the additional officers Foley is requesting were not budgeted for this year, but he will be reviewing the budget within the next couple of weeks to see if there is any money to bring on new officers.
He said when his review is finished, he will meet with Mayor Charles Sammarone to discuss his findings.
Besides the two hired in October 2012, nine other officers were added in May 2012 and six more in November 2011, shortly after Foley became chief.
All new patrol officers are assigned a field-training officer on each shift, and they work with those officers for several months before being assigned beats on their own.