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Lake Placid Police Department welcomes 3 homegrown officers

June 7, 2019
By ELIZABETH IZZO - Staff Writer ( , Lake Placid News

LAKE PLACID - Three new officers have been hired at the Lake Placid Police Department.

Matthew St. Louis, Patrick Kane and Nicholas Sweeney started at the department Monday, June 3, according to police Chief William Moore.

They'll spend the next three months at the police academy and another three to four months doing field training before they're formally on duty. The appointments are provisional, pending the passing of a civil service exam later this year.

St. Louis, 33, and Kane and Sweeney, both 22, all grew up in Lake Placid, a rarity for applicants to the department. St. Louis's uncle Michael St. Louis worked for the village police department for more than 20 years.

"We don't often get candidates that have a connection to the community," said Mayor Craig Randall at a special village board meeting on Friday, May 31 to authorize the officers' hiring.

St. Louis is returning to the area after spending 10 years in the U.S. Coast Guard. Sweeney is a recent graduate of North Country Community College with a degree in criminal justice. Kane is a recent graduate of SUNY Plattsburgh with degrees in criminal justice and environmental science.

All three will be paid a salary based on the police union's starting rate of $20.20 per hour, according to Moore. That may change, though. Negotiations with the Lake Placid Police Benevolent Association are expected to start in the next few months, according to Randall.


Recruitment troubles

The hiring brings the department's total force to 13 officers, one short of the number Moore believes would be ideal for the department.

Altogether, four candidates applied for positions with the department recently, including the three that were ultimately hired. Village officials were optimistic about that number at their special meeting last Friday. But three existing officers are now eligible for retirement, and Essex County's civil service list for village officers has been depleted, according to Moore.

The Lake Placid Police Department, much like other small law enforcement agencies in the area, has had trouble recruiting officers for years. It doesn't help that it has to compete with agencies like the New York State Police, Randall said. State troopers are generally paid more than village police officers.

The lack of affordable housing has only exacerbated the issue.

Officers tend to commute from places such as Jay, Willsboro, Westport, Keene and Keeseville. A Lake Placid police officer that transferred to a different department last year commuted from Glens Falls.

Randall acknowledged at a village board meeting Monday that the department is understaffed and some senior officers are working extra to make up for it.

"We're burning out our more seasoned officers to a level that we'd like to avoid," he said.



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