Town of New Paltz Police facing “existential crisis”

Within the next five years, New Paltz Town Police could lose a collective 300 years of experience on the job. That’s the warning given by Chief Robert Lucchesi during the August 19 Police Commission meeting. It’s based on those officers who are or will be eligible for retirement and that includes the chief. Lucchesi has no plans to leave that soon, but is concerned about the fact that younger officers are not sticking around after being trained because it’s difficult to secure a full-time position. That’s an intentional strategy: police spending makes up a big chunk of the town budget and full-time officers get costlier benefits. A consequence is that young officers frequently leave if a job opens up in another department.

Chief Lucchesi acknowledged that “legacy costs” including pensions and medical benefits can be significant, but pointed out that there are costs to hiring, as well. The training to get an academy graduate ready for the field runs $16,000 — not including the overtime paid to the field training officer. “We’ve spent $300,000 training people who are no longer here,” the chief said.

Supervisor Neil Bettez seemed receptive to shifting the practice, which has been in place for some years. There are soft benefits to longevity, including the steadying influence of experience and the strengthening of both departmental culture and community relations.

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There are 5 comments

  1. Youare Wrong

    This article is disingenuous in saying that the practice of a new hire leaving early is “good”. The article fails to consider the background process and the man hours that go into that, let alone the cost and how that takes away officers from their regularly scheduled tour. Then the hours and cost with Field Training. A typical department also gives either an FTO stipend or pays a daily OT hour for each training shift.

    That’s only scratching the surface of the errors in this piss poor article.

  2. albert anastasia

    oh no. the completely overfunded new paltz police department, which is ridiculous when you sit and think about it. the fact that we let campus cops have free range. state troopers. sheriffs. not to mention all the CIs on the payroll. why do we need so much police presence in one of the softest towns i’ve ever seen. yeah i’m sure everyone feels so bad for you and this “existential crisis” NPPDs budget needs to be cut. it’s unnecessary. what do you do for new paltz? a few dwis? some recreational drugs? bunch of burnouts? just fuck people’s days up for innocuous little things. it must be some tough job. YOU GUYS DO NOTHING BUT BREAK BALLS. and honestly hardly any of you are good at your job. most of your IQs probably border that of someone with down syndrome. i hope this brightens your day! nah not really. could care less about all of you.

  3. Tysonsmama

    Those who refer to New Paltz as a “soft” town clearly have no idea what goes on outside their own experience. In the 40 years I lived there, I saw NPPD handle sexual assault, burglary, trafficking of women & heavy drugs, child abuse, mental illness & homelessness. All while trying to meet the needs of residents from every economic class & a constant influx of newly freed teens & tourists looking for a good time. Try walking in their shoes. That said, experience with staff is to everyone’s benefit, especially the community.

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