Six new officers were appointed to the Orchard Park Police Department at Wednesday’s Town Board meeting, making it the largest number of appointments at a single time in the department’s history, said Police Chief Mark F. Pacholec.
“We’ve never, ever in the history of the Orchard Park Police Department appointed six officers at once,” Pacholec told the audience Wednesday, which was largely composed of the officers’ loved ones.
“That’s a fifth of our police department,” he later added.
The appointments are the first since 2005, with the officers filling slots left vacant by promotions and retirements, Pacholec said. The Town Board confirmed the appointments unanimously, increasing the town’s police force to 32 members.
The appointments coincide with the needs of a still-growing town, Pacholec said, adding that in the last 16 or 17 years, the volume of calls the department receives has tripled.
With the additions of Amy Pfeffer, a former Rochester police officer, and Kristen Mazur, a part-time Blasdell officer and former Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority officer, the number of women on the force has increased to three.
Councilman David Kaczor praised the police department’s first female appointees in eight years.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Kaczor said.
Regarding Pfeffer’s and Mazur’s appointments, Pacholec said that it’s important for the department to be representative of the community it polices.
Pfeffer and Mazur are eligible to begin on-the-road training within the next month. The remaining officers will enter the police academy in early August.
Five of the officers were appointed to the probationary police officer position effective July 30 with a starting salary of $42,500. The sixth officer, Pfeffer, was assigned to a permanent position, with a salary of $56,885, because she completed the probationary period required by the state during her time as a Rochester police officer, Pacholec said.
Pacholec said he’s still crafting next year’s budget but said there is a possibility for more hires.
“We’re always looking for ways to do our jobs better,” he said.
In other action, the Town Board approved a resolution to declare the property at 3428 Southwestern Blvd. “dangerous and unsafe,” and authorized repair or removal procedures.
The board also authorized additional funding for the purchase and installation of fencing for the baseball diamond at Yates Park, totaling $8,653.