Suffolk County Executive Bellone Announces Largest Hiring of Police and Law Enforcement Officers in County History

Suffolk County to hire over 700 law enforcement personnel during a 12-month span.

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Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone.

Photo by: Suffolk County

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone has announced the largest hiring of police officers and law enforcement personnel in County history. During a 12-month span, Suffolk County will be hiring 705 law enforcement personnel with 462 of them joining the Suffolk County Police Department.
A rush transcript of the County Executive’s remarks is available below:
Good morning. Thank you very much for joining us here at the Suffolk County Police Academy here at Suffolk Community College. We're always grateful to the college for their partnership and support. I'm joined by a number of my colleagues here today of course our acting Suffolk County Police Commissioner Stuart Cameron. Also our Deputy Commissioner Risco Mention-Lewis. We also have Lisa Black Chief Deputy County Executive, Vanessa Baird-Streeter Deputy County Executive, and Retha Fernandez, who is the County's Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer. 
Again, welcome to the Suffolk County Police Department. This is a location that is particularly active now and will be so for some time. In Suffolk County, we have made investing in public safety a priority. There's nothing more important than ensuring that our friends, families, neighborhoods and communities are safe. We've made investments in the latest technology. And we've invested in enhanced training to ensure that our officers are equipped with the tools that they need to protect our communities.
Despite the challenges that we have seen in other parts of the country, Suffolk County remains among the safest places to live anywhere in America. And I want to thank the men and women of this police department and of law enforcement here in Suffolk County for the work that they do each and every day, to help ensure that that is the case. It's our job to do everything we can to make sure that this department and law enforcement here in the county continues to have the tools that they need to do the effective work that has been happening here. And, I will say we have continued despite the challenges that we have all seen happening, particularly a global pandemic occurring. We have continued to drive crime down to historic levels in Suffolk County, and every year continuing to drive those numbers down further. And despite all of those challenges, the Suffolk County Police Department and law enforcement here has continued to do that, we've seen overall crime drop here another 6.8%. And we're going to make sure that we again, have the resources and provide the tools necessary to continue that critical work. 
So today, that is why today I am announcing the largest hiring of police and law enforcement officers in Suffolk County history over a 12-month period. Using funds from the federal government, I want to thank we talked from this specific location, about the importance during this pandemic, as we saw the shutdown, obviously impact the economy revenues coming into government and threatening our ability to protect public health and safety and have the resources necessary to do that.
And I want to thank our partners in the federal government. You know, particularly in our congressional delegation, led by Senator Schumer, for the work they did to help bring funds in. We have applied and utilize those funds in ways that are designed to protect the health and long term security of this county. So we have where it has made sense invested in things like infrastructure to promote the long term economic sustainability of the county and also investing, as we're talking about here today in public safety in protecting communities. So we are utilizing those dollars and the revenues coming in from an economy that has recovered as a result of those investments also, to be hiring more than 700 police officers and law enforcement officers in this county, 705 exactly over a 12-month period graduating and being hired here at this police academy and being trained here at this police academy. Of those 705 law enforcement officers, 462 of them will be joining the Suffolk County Police Department. So in addition to that, in addition to those 462, the breakdown is 146 Correction Officers, 20 Probation Officers, and 77 Deputy Sheriffs, and we aren't just filling retirements here. At a certain point, we'll see about 280 more officers than we did pre-pandemic levels. And even when you account for what we may see in terms of attrition over the next year, we will be seeing higher levels of staffing here in the police department and law enforcement across the board.
As we've talked about, and we've talked about from this location as well, increasing diversity in the police department has been a top priority has been a focus of this administration. We want to make sure that the Suffolk County Police Department and law enforcement in general is a government in general is reflective of the communities that it serves. And I have said many times before, the most important thing we can do, and the most effective way to continue to build upon the success of this department and to bring about further success is to make sure the department is as diverse as possible, reflecting the communities that it serves. And that's the work that we're doing. 
Just this past year, we swore in the most diverse police class here in this academy, and we promoted the most diverse cohort of detective level officers in the department's history. And we also, of course, just recently promoted the first Hispanic Chief in department history as well. With these new hires that we are announcing today, diversity will remain at the forefront of our work. Ten percent of the new hires will be Spanish speaking, of course, and because of the efforts engaged by individuals here with me at the podium, ahead of the 2019 police exam, to recruit more diverse applicants. Our goal is that with each of these upcoming classes, we will see more diversity than the last. We're constantly recruiting individuals to take the police exam and encourage anyone who wants to become a law enforcement officer in Suffolk County to consider signing up. And we're also focused again because of the work of the individuals, my colleagues who are here on making sure after individuals take the exam that this process is, is fair and is working to ensure diversity in the department appropriately as we move forward and as people move forward through the process. So with that, I'm going to ask Commissioner Cameron, to get into a little bit more detail about what the process will be and what will happen here as we again, welcome the largest class of law enforcement officers over the over a 12-month period in the history of Suffolk County.