Middletown to hire four more police officers with federal COPS grant

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MIDDLETOWN – The Police Department in Middletown is growing in
size. Right now the city has 65 full-time sworn officers, but by January,
the ranks should grow by four thanks to a federal COPS grant.

Chief Ramon Bethencourt expects the grant of $500,000 to be for a three-year
period after which it is typically expected that the municipality would
continue to fund the positions.

The chief plans to beef up the city’s community policing effort
with the new officers.

“As many know, I have attempted to keep officers out on the street
on a walking patrol and that is what we focused on when we applied for
this grant. So the City of Middletown residents and community will see
those officers out there with boots on the ground,” he said.
Bethencourt said he will start canvassing the city’s civil service
list for candidates in hopes of starting background checks to fill the
positions.

US Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and Congressman Sean
Patrick Maloney pushed for the grant. It will take some financial heat
off the city’s budget, which would otherwise have to pick up the
tab for new police officers.