York City swears in a dozen new police officers

Noel Miller
York Dispatch

York City swore in dozen new police officers on Friday following repeated pleas from the police commissioner to take on more officers.

For most work promotions and new jobs, a celebration is expected, but for the York City Police Department, these occasions tend to be a family affair.

YCPD welcomed 12 preliminary officers and celebrated one promotion on Friday. The new officers were hired after Police Commissioner Michael Muldrow repeatedly asked for help from local government officials in the face of increasingly violent crimes.

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Muldrow teared up as he introduced the new officers, some of them children of co-workers he's known since they were young.

"I'm proud of today, I hope people find the hope in it that I found. And I'm excited about tomorrow," Muldrow said.

The new dozen are a diverse mix of people, with four Latino officers, two women, several second-generation officers and one whose wife currently works in the department.

"When I came into office we were a 91% white male police force," York City Mayor Michael Helfrich estimated. Since then, including the new hires, the department has at least 30% underrepresented people in it, Capt. Daniel Lentz said. Of the entire department, there are nine Black officers, 12 female officers, eight Latino officers, one Egyptian officer, two officers of Asian descent and one officer from Morocco, according to Lentz.

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In addition to swearing in the new officers, Muldrow on Friday promoted Christopher Martin to sergeant.

The York City Police Department now has 111 officers total, exceeding the 100-officer cap in city code. However, the department can exceed the cap for several reasons, the most pertinent one being that several of the new hires are funded externally. The cap only limits the officers who can be hired using city funds, Lentz said. Four of the new officers are funded using money from the American Rescue Plan Act, and two are funded using federal grant money.

York City Police Department's newest officer Nelson Reyes, in center, looking at the badge after the swearing in ceremony in York on Friday, Jan.6, 2023.

In addition, some of the new hires will be replacing current officers set to retire in the next two years. Three officers are expected to retire in 2023 and one in 2024, Lentz said. Since the new hires still have to attend the police academy and receive additional training, it could be up to 11 months before they start in full, allowing retiring officers to finish out their last months of work.

City Council: The issue of hiring additional officers despite a 100-officer cap was brought up at several City Council meetings at the end of 2022, but eventually other topics took precedence.

The first City Council meeting of the new year, on Jan. 2, was short and simple. One of the notable items on the agenda was a change to the 2023 city budget in the Housing Services’ Community Development Block Grant budget, with almost $165,000 added from rollover funding in the rehabilitation program.

The next City Council meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 17, in the City Council Chambers at York City Hall. The meeting will be livestreamed by White Rose TV and can be viewed on YouTube or wrct.com.

— Reach Noel Miller at NMiller3@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @TheNoelM.