By Cathy DeDe, Chronicle Managing Editor
“Like every community,” Mayor Bill Collins says, “Glens Falls is struggling to hire police officers and firefighters. There are young people out there not realizing what a great civil service job and career this is.”
Glens Falls Police Chief Jarred Smith, responding to Chronicle questions via email, said “We currently have eight Police Officer positions open, one Patrol Lieutenant and one Patrol Sergeant. We are activity trying to fill all these positions.
There are 23 people in the Police Department, reports Chip McTiernan, assistant to the Glens Falls Mayor. That includes an Administrative Assistant, and 13 Crossing Guards who are also overseen by the Police Department.
Starting salary is $45,373, not including benefits, which vary due to family size because of insurance costs.
Chief Smith notes that “a police recruit, while in the Academy, gets paid the starting rate of a police officer. That rate increases after the first year.”
Police Officers typically work three main shifts, Chief Smith said, from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., 3 to 11 p.m of 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. “These shifts are bid by seniority.”
Firefighters work 24-hour shifts
Fire Chief James Schrammel said, the department currently includes 38 firefighters — a Chief, a Fire Prevention/Codes Officer, and 36 line firefighters.
“We have had the same number of Firefighters for the past 30 years, since 1993.
“We currently have seven open firefighter positions which we are actively working to fill.”
He said starting pay is $37,500 for a Firefighter Trainee, and $41,500 for Firefighter Paramedic. The department pays the firefighters while they are at the Fire Academy. For the newly created Firefighter Paramedic position they will receive Paramedic training as well as their Firefighter training.
Firefighters work two 24-hour shifts each week.
Glens Falls Mayor Bill Collins said the City has one new officer currently at the Police Academy, “and we’re waiting for the new Civil Service exams, to continue to hire.”
He said typically, those taking Civil Service exams will “put in” for where they hope to work. The City does preliminary interviews and background checks. If the officer is hired, they then do a more extensive background check, including psychological and other testing, the Mayor said.
He said the Board of Public Safety, which he chairs, added one new officer and one full-time social worker to the police department this year through its budgeting process.
He said, with staffing shortages, “We had some police officers leave recently who weren’t into overnight shifts. That’s tough, but we are covering all shifts at the minimum. We are able to meet the staffing needs of both departments.”
He said the fire department also covers EMT and ambulance calls in the City. “We had 2,499 EMS calls just last year,” Mayor Collins said. Fire fighters are increasingly trained in both aspects, he said.
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