When four hires approved Monday by the Tonawanda Town Board complete their training, the Police Department will have a full roster.
The candidates were chosen from a civil service list based on an entry-level police exam given in spring 2013, said Assistant Police Chief Jerome C. Uschold.
“We just got the marks in November, which gave us a new pool of people to pull from,” he said. “We hadn’t hired for a couple of years, so this will bring us up to full strength.”
The Town Board approved hiring Kelly J. Wright, Bikramjit Singh and David J. Humphrey to replace two officers who resigned and a one who retired. They begin Monday in Erie Community College’s Law Enforcement Training Academy and will earn $53,125 annually, plus $3,969 holiday add-on.
Wright, a native of Boston, Mass., said she served four years of active duty in the Air Force and holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and a master’s in organizational leadership from Medaille College. Singh, a native of India, said he served 12 years in the Army Reserve and graduated from SUNY Buffalo State with a degree in history.
Humphrey, a native of the town, said he served four years in the Marines and graduated from SUNY Buffalo State with a degree in criminal justice.
William R. Laugeman, who has more than three years’ experience as a University at Buffalo police officer, was hired to replace an officer who is making a transition to becoming a school resource officer in the Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda School District, Uschold said.
“We took one of our officers and put him in as a school resource officer, which doesn’t count against our manpower,” he said.
“(Laugeman) is replacing that officer on our manpower list. The school pays for the resource officers.”
Laugeman will start field training Monday and earn $59,187 annually, plus $4,422 holiday add-on.
All four of the approved candidates were seated together at Monday’s meeting and received a round of applause from the board and the audience.
The level of police personnel became a flash point last fall in the weeks before the November election for three seats on the Town Board. The union representing officers, the Town of Tonawanda Police Club, accused board members of personnel cuts that left the department short-staffed.
Also Monday, part-time paramedic Jason D. Rutecki was hired as full time at an annual salary of $45,380 to replace a paramedic who resigned.
The appointments are considered “temporary” pending the successful results of a medical exam, psychological testing and other required background checks.
Meanwhile, the Kenmore Police Department also achieved a full roster for the first time in four years with the hiring of Darryl A. Purucker earlier this month.