Glen Cove has hired a new recruit to send to the police academy in a compromise over police staffing levels.
The hire will bring the force to 50, and Mayor Reginald Spinello said at a pre-council meeting Tuesday night that the city is "going to go forward hoping and assuming that this is the number that works . . . There's fresh eyes, and there's new blood that hopefully will start to pay dividends."
In 2012, Glen Cove's 52-person police force shrank with a wave of retirements that took it to 45 on Jan. 1, 2013, according to the police department.
Glen Cove Police Chief William Whitton said Tuesday that he would like the force to get up to 53 but that he would settle for 50.
"We'll make it work," Whitton said at the meeting. The reduced staffing had eliminated a two-person crime prevention unit, but the new hire and other recent hires would let it be reconstituted.
"We'll be able to get CPU back up and running again," Whitton said. "It's going to be the first time in almost two years that we've had a full compliment of detectives, and we have our CPU going again."
Two officers finishing training at a police academy in Westchester are expected to start on the force this month; and the 50th could be on the job in about six months.
In March, when the city hired a new recruit to replace an officer who died, Democrats on the City Council said they wanted to add one or two more, but Spinello, an Independence Party member who ran on the Republican line, said he thought staffing was adequate. At that time, Whitton said he hoped to get the number up higher but understood budget constraints.
The City Council made a scheduled break in its Tuesday pre-council meeting to convene a special meeting in City Hall chambers to hire Glen Cove native Edward Loeffler, 24, at an annual salary of $36,678. Hiring Loeffler on Tuesday allowed him to join Nassau County's six-month police academy that began that day.
Whitton said arrests are up 27 percent this year compared with the same period last year due in part to a focus on quality-of-life issues.