Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Call it a changing of the guard or a passing of the torch, but by any measure you use, the Falls Police Department is getting younger.
In the year since Police Superintendent Bryan DalPorto took over as the Cataract City’s top cop, not only has he promoted a gaggle of new captains, lieutenants and detectives, he has also hired 20 new patrol officers.
“We had a wave of (about 20) retirements in the last year,” DalPorto said. “And we need to fill those vacancies.”
The retirements ranged from former Superintendent John Chella, through several captains, lieutenants, detectives and patrol officers.
“We lost a lot of experience when those people left.” DalPorto said. “But it’s an opportunity for us. We gain youth and fresh eyes and new ideas.”
The department added 15 recruits in 2013 and promptly put eight of them into the Niagara County Law Enforcement Academy. The remaining seven were assigned to duties at police headquarters that did not require certified and sworn police officers.
Seven of those eight rookies are now on the streets in field training and their chief is pleased with what he has seen.
“They are all doing great,” DalPorto said. “I ran into (one of the rookies) at a shooting on Whitney Avenue the other night, so they are learning fast.”
The remaining seven recruits from 2013 have now been joined by six more rookies, sworn in last week, at the law enforcement academy and will be ready to join the force by summer time. But that doesn’t mean the department is back to its full strength of 156 officers.
“I think we were at full strength for about a day,” DalPorto laughed, “but then Captain (Frank) Tedesco retired and now we’re down again.”
DalPorto said the retirements and hirings are all part of the normal cycle of police work.
“I don’t think we’ll lose 20 people again next year,” he said. “But gaining the new recruits is good for the organization. The torch has been passed.”Contact reporter Rick Pfeiffer at 282-2311, ext. 2252.