The Rye Police Department and its Commissioner William Connors have recently received criticism for allegedly not honoring police officers and not hiring more officers to protect the city.
In a letter sent this month from Rye Police Association president Franco Compagnone to Mayor Doug French, Compagnone accused Connors of not honoring deserving law enforcement employees.
"His failure to recognize the heroic and lifesaving feats of his own men speaks volumes," Compagnone wrote.
But Connors told Patch that Compagnone's criticisms aren't valid.
"It's the absolute contrary of what's happening," Connors said. "We hold ceremonies every few years, allowing awards to accumulate. We had ceremonies in 2003 and 2006, and on May 21 I attended a committee meeting to review cases from the past few years. We're beginning the process of having an award ceremony this year."
Connors said he was the first Rye Police Commissioner to hold awards ceremonies.
In another letter, Compagnone, whom Rye Patch could not reach for comment, also expressed his desire for Rye's Police Department to hire laid off police officers from White Plains. Compagnone noted doing so would fill vacant positions and save money, because the city would not have to put these veteran officers through the police academy for training.
The City of Rye currently has 34 police officers on its force. The city has allocated slightly more than $7 million in its $52 million 2010 budget to pay for police operations, a decrease of 3.74 percent compared to the 2009 budget.
"Right now we are in a hiring freeze," Connors explained. "If I had the opportunity to hire at the moment, I would certainly take a look [at the White Plains officers]."
"We do have a number of vacancies," Connors added, noting the staff is currently reduced by six. "We are reaching a point where it will impact our operations. I have been advocating to fill the positions—it's just a matter of the economy."
The current hiring freeze is indefinite, Connors said.