BETHLEHEM Three new appointments, including two female officers, have been made to the Bethlehem Police Department.
While Bethlehem Police are still hoping for more hires, town officials hope the move will ease what has been a strained relationship between the two.
With six officers out on sick or injury leave, the strapped department has been “experiencing a staffing crisis,” described Patrolman Mike Berben, president of the Bethlehem Police Officers Union.
At the Wednesday, Dec. 9, Town Board meeting, all three appointments were approved.
“This year was almost like the perfect storm,” said Police Chief Lou Corsi. “We were facing a lot of injuries long term and it’s been a challenge maintaining operations with restricted operations. My hope is that everyone gets healthy soon.”
Corsi hoped the new hires would help the department recover.
Two of the hires fill positions from officers who have recently left the department; the third brings BPD one above their budgeted 37 officers.
However, some at BPD, including Mike Berben, are hoping for more.
“Even with the additional officer, Bethlehem Police are still at some of the lowest staffing levels they have ever had,” said Berben.
Berben said he would wait to see whether the additional officers would ease police workloads- though he doubted they would