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February 21, 2013

4 Oneonta officers considering job options

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The Daily Star

---- — By Denise Richardson

Staff Writer

Four officers have alerted the city police chief they have been contacted about possible career opportunities elsewhere.

No officers have given notice, said Police Chief Dennis Nayor, who reported the officers’ status at a Common Council on Tuesday night.

Nayor said Wednesday that four officers took the state police examination in 2008 and were contacted in recent months about whether they remained interested in being a trooper.

One of the four officers also has an opportunity in the Rochester area, he said.

“They are all great officers — I don’t want to lose any of them,’’ Nayor said. “The reality is there are other opportunities.’’

State police and other larger law enforcement agencies offer higher pay and opportunities with aviation, scuba and other specialty teams, Nayor said.

Nayor, who became chief last year, said he stayed 18 years with the Oneonta police because he liked the community and developed training niches that overshadowed financial benefits.

“I tried to provide opportunities for officers to develop their own niches,’’ Nayor said. “When we hire officers and train them, it is a calculated risk’’ that they will leave, he said.

The lure of larger agencies isn’t a new factor for a small community such as Oneonta to face, said David Rissberger, Common Council member from the Third Ward and chairman of the council’s Public Safety Committee.

“We need to be able to roll with this,’’ Rissberger said Wednesday. Council members on the Human Resources Committee and city officials will hold interviews for police candidates this week, which will help toward preparing for any turnover, he said.

Starting pay in the Oneonta Police Department is $37,000, Nayor said.

The four officers were trained by OPD and have between three and five years of experience, said Nayor, who withheld their identifies because they are in the early stages of developing options.

Trooper pay after graduating from the academy is $66,905, the state police website said, and base pay after five years is $84,739.

The Oneonta Police Department is authorized for 27 sworn police members from patrol officers to chief, Nayor said, and one vacancy exists for a patrol officer.

The council in this year’s budget cut an authorized 28th position, and a task force is studying personnel levels and other police department issues.

Nayor said he is committed to hiring only qualified officers who will be part of the department’s current excellence. Positions will remain open until the “right person’’ applies, he said.

“I can’t be emphatic enough,’’ he said. “I only want quality.’’