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New London — On the heels of a vote by the City Council, Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio on Thursday signed an ordinance establishing a minimum of 80 officers in the New London Police Department.
“I believe 80 officers to be a minimum number required to adequately staff our police department,” Finizio said in a statement. “I appreciate the hard work the men and women of the New London Police Department have been doing with such short staff and during tough budget times.”
Deputy Chief Peter Reichard said there are currently 65 police officers serving in the department, down by more than one-third from just two years ago due to officers leaving and retirements.
A report issued in 2007 stated that the New London Police Department should have between 83 and 118 officers to address the city’s needs based on reported crime and calls for service.
Finizio said his budget request will include funding for 80 officers, a four-dog K-9 unit, along with money for vehicle and equipment replacement at the New London Police Department.
“Now that the Council has set the mandate for 80 officers, and previously mandated a four-dog K-9 unit, the burden will be on the Council to fully fund these mandates,” Finizio said.
Councilors who voted on the ordinance said they expect the increase will come at a more gradual pace because of not only financial concerns, but because the department can only manage and train only so many new recruits.