NORWICH – The Norwich Police Department added five new police officers to its ranks and four were sworn in by NPD Chief Joseph Angelino at the city’s Common Council meeting Tuesday night.
Family and friends of the newly sworn officers were present, and were then invited to take part in a tour of the police station, where their loved one will soon be spending many hours.
Four police sergeants with more than 80 years of added experience with the NPD will be retiring this year, leaving vacancies within the department. Sergeants Stephen Zieno, Scott Meade, Pat Blenis and Ross Tumminia will be leaving the department, and their sergeant spots will be filled by current NPD officers, which made for openings for new police officers to join the force.
Although only four employees are retiring, a total five new officers have been added and took their oath of office Tuesday night.
“(Assistant District Attorney) Stephen Dunshee spoke to the council and was just one of the people advocating to create a new police officer position,” said Angelino, noting that funding for the additional position will come from the department’s reserve account. That account built up when the NPD chose not to fill a dog warden position.
“We thank the council for supporting us. With the additional officer we can have a full-time narcotics officer,” said Angelino. He added that money will also be saved by not having to send all of the new officers to school.
“We commend the men who have showed and kept the tradition of a very professional police force, and we are very fortunate to be welcoming these fine young men,” said Norwich Mayor Joseph Maiurano. “We are all committed to the safety of the community.”
The five new officers include:
• Paul Slack, age 32 of Mt. Upton, NY. Mr. Slack is a former Chenango County Sheriff’s deputy who has nine years of experience as a law enforcement officer.
• Daniel Sheehan, age 25, of East Meredith, NY. Mr. Sheehan was hired from the Civil Service list and was most recently employed by the Otsego County Sheriff’s Office.
• Ryan Legacy, age 27, of Sherburne, NY. Mr. Legacy was hired from the Civil Service list and most recently employed as a part-time officer with the Sherburne Police Department.
• Scott Germond, age 36, of Norwich, NY. Mr. Germond was hired from the Civil Service list and has worked in the security department of the Amphenol plant in Sidney, NY.
• John Wonka III, age 21, of Oxford, NY. Mr. Wonka was hired from the Civil Service list and currently is a college student.
Germond and Wonka are scheduled to begin the New York Police Officer’s training academy on March 17 at Binghamton, New York. Both men will attend full-time classes for approximately six months before returning to Norwich for duty.
Slack, Sheehan and Legacy all have previous law enforcement training and will begin their patrol duty in mid-March alongside a training officer, said Angelino.
Sheehan was not present for Tuesday’s ceremony, but will take the oath with Angelino at a later date.
Following the ceremony, parents, spouses, children, grandparents, nieces and nephews and friends were invited to the Norwich Police Department so that they could see first-hand what it would be like for their family member to be employed as an officer.
NPD officer Tom Miller provided a tour to Legacy’s family, giving tips to the newly sworn officer and telling his family what it’s like to be an officer with the department.
“Chief Angelino is great, and we are fortunate to have him,” said Miller. “He’s strict and keeps everyone in line.” Miller added he has seen how departments in various areas of the state operate – such as Buffalo – and said that Angelino’s extensive military background and knack for what he does keeps everything running smoothly.
Miller shared with Legacy and his family that there is a lot that officers do that isn’t seen. He said officers complete door checks at night, essentially going on foot patrol to ensure that businesses are locked and safe, including all schools in the city. Personal property checks are also done by city officers, in the event a resident is away for an extended period and would like their home checked.
The tour included the training room – where Miller said they recently completed further instruction on the asp (baton) –, the emergency operations center, the booking area, juvenile interview room, and the gym.
Miller added that all the gym equipment was brought in by the officers, and they each have their own preferences regarding keeping fit. The belts on their uniforms alone are 22 pounds, he said, so it is important the new officers keep in shape.
The tour included the garage, where Miller showed Legacy’s family the cars, and emphasized the importance of keeping everything clean and in order. Miller showed Legacy’s smiling, eager young nephew how to turn on the lights of the patrol car.
“You already have some experience, so you probably know some of this,” said Miller to Legacy, “But it’s nice to give your family the opportunity to see everything.”
Said Miller to the children, “Those are the holding cells ... You don’t want to be in there.”
At the conclusion, the children were provided with NPD stickers and the family and new officers were welcomed on board once more.
The other new officers and family were given the tour by a different on-duty officer.
Family, friends, current officers and the chief were all enthusiastic regarding the ceremony and tour of the facility.
“We are excited to have these new officers joining our ranks” said Angelino. “We also appreciate the support from the Mayor and City Council authorizing the hiring of these officers.”