With the Village of Kenmore facing a recent rash of thefts overnight from unlocked vehicles, the Kenmore Police Department now has a full complement of 25 officers for the first time in more than four years.
The Village Board voted Tuesday night to hire Darryl A. Purucker to fill the vacancy left by the resignation in June of Jeffrey R. Mang, who was accused of pointing his gun at a bowler during an altercation while off-duty working security in February at Kenmore Lanes.
Purucker, 27, is a Cheektowaga native and graduate of St. Francis High School and Alfred University with a degree in psychology.
“I believe he’ll be a valuable asset to the department,” Kenmore Police Chief Peter J. Breitnauer said of Purucker to the board during its work session.
He transfers to Kenmore from the Hornell City Police Department, which he joined in 2012 after graduating from the Rural Police Training Academy at Genesee Community College. Breitnauer called Purucker a “pro-active” cop and said the new officer came highly recommended by the chief in Hornell.
“It’s been my dream to work in a community close to home near my family,” said Purucker, who was joined at the meeting by his father, William.
Purucker begins Monday in the $57,655 post.
The department added another officer to its ranks in June when Michael Osiadlo graduated first in a class of 52 from Erie County’s Law Enforcement Training Academy.
Those additions bring the department’s roster to 25 officers for the first time since 2010, Breitnauer said.
The additions also come as the department deals with a recent uptick in thefts from unlocked vehicles throughout the village, with two or three entries reported daily, the chief said.
“Whoever the suspect or suspects are, are looking for open cars, trying car doors, and they’re stealing anything of value that’s left,” he said. “Normally, they’ll see something on the seat or they’ll rummage through.”
Coins, laptops and purses are among the items stolen, he said.
Breitnauer reminded residents to lock their car doors and take valuables inside.
“We could quell quite a bit of this if people locked their doors and took their valuables in the house,” he said.
In other business Monday, the board voted to hire Julia Taylor as a part-time driver in the Kenmore Fire Department. Taylor, 23, is the first paid woman driver in department history, according to Chief Shannon Whitney. Taylor has been a volunteer member of the department for two years and also works as an emergency medical technician for Twin City Ambulance, Whitney said.