Police could use retirees to strengthen patrols

By Jillian Marshall

April 17, 2013 Updated Apr 18, 2013 at 12:54 AM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Some area retired police officers may be back on the payroll in the city of Binghamton, but only part-time.

For the past few months, Binghamton City Council has taken up the discussion of alternative police patrols to supplement police coverage, especially downtown during the summer months.

A proposal now calls for the use of four to six retired police officers from around the Southern Tier to report back to duty starting July 1. The measure still needs council's approval. The officers would stop patrolling in December, after the new academy class graduates.

Police Chief Joseph Zikuski says his department has enough cars and guns for these part-time officers. Uniforms, body armor and training will be considered for each officer, depending on when they retired and from which municipality they retired.

When discussion of an alternate police patrols began, there was a possibility of an extended force made up of citizens.

Zikuski says the department needs more people on the ground, but from retired officers, not a civilian police force.

"It is much more logical to hire part-time police officers than to have a civilian police, or civilian people patrolling force, perhaps calling stuff in and there's a possibility we would not have anybody to send," Zikuski said.

A budget for the part-time officers will be completed by May 1.

Members of the committee are hopeful council will vote on the plan at its meeting May 8.

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