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Schenectady mayor swears in five new police recruits

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Albany/HV: Schenectady mayor swears in five new police recruits
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Five new police officers are sworn in Tuesday at Schenectady's City Hall. They come in as the future of the department's leadership is uncertain. Our Beth Croughan has more.

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. -- "And there is no position in public employment that has the potential to have a significant and positive impact on the lives of the people of this community, then that of a police officer," said Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy.

Words spoken by Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy before swearing-in five new police officers. During the ceremony Tuesday at City Hall he said he'd look to them as community leaders, ones held in the highest standard.

Police Commissioner Wayne Bennett said past personnel problems are behind the department. And said the new recruits are among the best of the best.

"It's a very proud moment today, yes it is," said 34-year-old Duane Bechand.

"Very proud day for me and my family," said 27-year-old Michael Gailor.

And Bennett said they are joining what has become a "young department," explaining that of the 145 members, only 11 are retirement eligible.

"(They have) tremendous energy levels. Which you need in any urban setting because it is very, very busy," he said.

The men, all between the ages of 24 and 34, will undergo six months of basic training and will be out on the streets early next year.

"I think it gives us some opportunity where we have a lot of problems, that are not unique just to Schenectady, they're urban problems . And we have what is statistically a younger, smarter work force. We have what is statistically is a younger, smarter workforce now. And would like to draw on that talent, how do you deal with policing problems, how do we adequately deploy those resources so we are getting the most bang for our buck," said McCarthy.

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