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Watertown Police Department vehicle. Sydney Schaefer/Watertown Daily Times

WATERTOWN — With four vacancies and a potential for a fifth, the city police department is in the process of hiring five new recruits.

Police officials recently said that some vacancies occur because officers leave the department for jobs with the higher paying state office.

An officer left a few weeks ago to become a state trooper.

The police department expects a fifth vacancy to occur because of a pending retirement in July.

City police start at an annual salary of $48,135, compared to state police who initially make $56,174 a year during training but then make $79,467 after a year on the job.

It will take about 40 weeks to get the new recruits through the training academy and field training before they each can be on the road alone.

The recruits will be sworn into office Oct. 4 and begin the Black River/St. Lawrence Valley Police Academy three days later.

The academy is operated by the Watertown Police Department and will be conducted at Jefferson Community College.

The six months of training at the academy includes firearms, emergency vehicle operation, first response, DWI and defensive tactics.

Once that is completed, the new officers will complete 14 weeks of field training.

Prior to the training, they had to pass a Civil Service exam. Two Saturdays ago, however, about 170 people interested in becoming police officers took the Civil Service exam. It will take a few months to get back the results from the state.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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(1) comment

rdsouth

I guess the state has to have these high pay rates because some parts of of the state are more expensive to live in. But to compete with them the city would have to either accept people who can't qualify for the State Police (or who have a sentimental attachment to Watertown) or else pay over 80k a year. Maybe this is part of an argument for splitting up the state.

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