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.