POUGHKEEPSIE – Seven new police officers were sworn into the city’s police department on Friday. At the same ceremony, one veteran officer was promoted to sergeant and another was appointed to the detective division.
The new officers bolster the department’s ranks from 79 to 87. Contractually, under the ratified Police Retention Plan, the department is supposed to have 92 officers. Of the 87 officers, three started the police academy on July 5th and two are currently in field training which lasts for 90 days.
Twenty-eight officers are eligible to retire immediately due to their time of service. Three announced retirements are taking place in the next 60 days.
“The city has taken aggressive and insightful steps toward recruitment – and our efforts are clearly paying off. We welcome these new officers and are pleased to see these promotions as well,” said Mayor Rob Rolison.
As part of their recruitment strategy, city police officials provided free help to city residents taking part in the Police Officer/Deputy Sheriff Exam. The police department obtained a list of city residents scheduled to take the exam and has focused on hiring from within the community, one of the recommendations of the city’s Procedural Justice Committee that was included in the city’s Police Reform & Modernization Collaborative Plan sent to the state in 2021.
“We have worked hard to recruit and hire more people from the community and appreciate the efforts that have been made by many, especially to broaden diversity in our ranks. This is important to the community – and to the Police Department as well,” said Police Chief Tom Pape.
The new officers are Ismael Chisholm, Carisma Collins, Joseph Dworkin, Thomas Elem, Gerry Mendez, Matthew Ragni, and Walter Urieta-Cruz. Dworkin and Ragni are veteran officers that transferred from the City of Newburgh. Chisolm and Collins recently graduated from the police academy and transferred to the city from the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office.
Police Officer Gregory Schwarzenegger was promoted to the rank of Sergeant and Officer Daniel Horton was appointed to the rank of Detective at today’s ceremony in the council chambers.
PBA President Kevin Van Wagner said “The union appreciates the efforts put forth by the command staff and the city to try and hire more officers,” while noting that several vacancies still exist in the Detective Bureau, Community Policing Division, and the Traffic Division. “We look forward to sitting down with the command staff and city administration to develop a plan to retain the officers we have and recruit new ones as well.”
Partial video of the swearing-in ceremony: