SUNY Police feeling the effects of staffing issues

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Published: Aug. 16, 2022 at 10:44 PM EDT
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NEW YORK (WBNG) - You’ve heard about the national police shortage, but now a similar situation is being mirrored when it comes to SUNY Police.

Mary Ritayik, the police commissioner over in Albany, confirmed the news via email and took time to talk with 12 News Tuesday, August 16.

“The deadline for applying for the test was in August,” said Ritayik. “So we had from July to August to really reach out to the most people that we could to come take the test.”

The commissioner said she believes every campus has their vacancies when it comes to police. “It’s just really predominate downstate, but it still is across the state. We are hurting overall,” said Ritayik.

While she said it’s not as severe at Binghamton University or SUNY Broome, Ritayik identified one of a few factors leading to the downstate shortages. “That location is difficult to keep our SUNY officers because of the difference in the outside agencies that are in the area that make comparable salaries or competitive salaries,” she said.

Ritayik said this ripple effect impacts the day-to-day operations and results in officers having to take on additional responsibility. “The police services are still getting taken care of but some of the ancillary services, like bike patrols or community programs, may get affected in some way,” she said.

The application period closed days ago for the civil service exam. “We don’t don’t just yet from civil service on how they compare to our previous tests,” said Ritayik.

With there being a training period for a job in this field, expect the shortage to be felt for some time as the commissioner said it can take roughly a year to get someone new with no prior experience on patrol.

As schools come back for the fall, Ritayik said there’s no safety risks for students. She said it’s the police use the all-hands-on-deck approach with planning involved.

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