HOLYOKE – If the eight men and women who took the oath as Holyoke’s newest police officers pass the Police Academy, the Paper City will be closer to having its full compliment of officers.
Mayor Alex Morse administered the oath of office to the eight officers on Aug. 13. He told the new officers he was “proud of them for choosing this profession.”
Morse said public safety is important for the city to attract new business and new families.
Police Chief James Neiswanger told Reminder Publications the city is to supposed to have 90 officers. When he arrived in the city in 2011, there were 93 officers in the police budget.
Right now the city has 82 officers on its roster, but some are out injured and there are 75 officers on duty, Neiswanger said.
His ideal number of officers would be 100, but the current budget doesn’t allow it.
The reserve officers who are going to the academy are Jose L. Millan Jr., Anthony S. Diliberto, Mark J. Gubala, Brian J. Vazquez, Melissa M. Rex, Kevin M. Kleszczynski, Eric M. Rodriguez and Sean T. Noonan.
The officers started the academy on Aug. 14.
They will be training for the next six months, Neiswanger said.
In a short speech before Morse administered the oath of office, Neiswanger noted this is a difficult time to be a police officer.
“It is a tough, but honorable profession,” he said.
Officers regularly encounter people at both their best and worst moments, he added.
He asked, “Why would someone want to be a police officer?” He answered those who do have “an innate sense of selfless duty.”
He believes that being a police officer is one of the noblest professions a person could undertake.
“If police officers who are the guardians of democracy fail, then our society crumbles,” Neiswanger said.
He offered advice that included the Golden Rule, maintaining non-police friends and “always doing your best with the resources you have.”
He added, “It’s important to do what is right even when no one is watching.”