LEWISBORO, N.Y. – The Lewisboro Police Department has hired a full-time officer, who officially began his training at the Westchester County Police Academy on Monday.
Lewisboro resident David Alfano, 27, was appointed to the post, according to Chief Frank Secret. His annual salary will be $42,000.
Secret said that Alfano grew up in Lewisboro and has strong ties to the community. He’s a graduate of John Jay High School and was part of the law enforcement division of the U.S. Coast Guard.
Alfano’s training will last six months and he won’t actually join the force until the beginning of 2013. He will join 12 part-time officers, becoming the only full-time officer on staff.
The Lewisboro police force most recently had 15 part-time officers, but three positions were cut by the Town Board during last year’s budget process. The Police Benevolent Association criticized the moved, claiming that replacing three part-time officers with one full-time position was not cost-effective.
In a recent op-ed piece for The Lewisboro Daily Voice, http://lewisboro.dailyvoice.com/opinion/letter-lewisboro-pba-questions-budget-decision, PBA President Tom Ritchey wrote: “Nine months ago, the Lewisboro Town Board decided to cut patrol coverage to one officer on patrol, cutting approximately 110 patrol hours a week, and laying off three part-time officers, all for financial reasons. If hired, a full-time officer would have paid vacation, 14 paid holidays, personal days, unlimited sick time, in addition to receiving health and dental benefits.”
However, Secret said that the hiring of a full-time officer was not done to replace the three part-time officers. He said he would have sought to hire a full-time officer anyway.
“Hiring a full-time officer had nothing to do with the cost or replacing the part-time officers,” he said. “It was done for the sake of continuity. This will add some stability.”
Secret said that his part-time officers all have full-time jobs away from the police force, and those jobs are their primary responsibilities. Often times they are prevented from fulfilling their patrol shifts due to those obligations. He said Alfano’s first commitment will be to the Lewisboro Police Department, which will make scheduling easier and more predictable and increase chances that all the shifts will be covered. State Police also patrol Lewisboro, among other Westchester towns.“Having all part-time officers is an archaic system,” Secret said. “It was good for a while, but times have changed and we are asking [part-time officers] to do more and more and it’s just not working. We have a lot of shifts that go uncovered.”
Secret said that in Westchester County, only Lewisboro, Pound Ridge, North Salem and Somers employ a staff of all part-time officers.
“That should tell you something,” he said.