Three new police officers headed to the Bergen County Police Academy Friday to begin their training for careers on the Fair Lawn Police Department.
Christopher O'Shaughnessy, Nicholas Snyder, and John Rovetto were each sworn in by the mayor at a council meeting Tuesday night. Each will spend 6 months in the academy, and an additional three to four months in field training, before becoming fully active on the force.
All three men are graduates of Fair Lawn High School who were active in public service prior to their recruitment by the police department. O'Shaughnessy served six years in the United States Navy as Boatswains Mate 3rd class; Snyder has been a volunteer with the Fair Lawn Fire Department and Ambulance Corps; and Rovetto was previously employeed by the TSA.
Since 2010, Chief Erik Rose said, Fair Lawn has lagged far behind the federal recommendations for the ratio of police officers to population, as retirements and layoffs due to the economy have reduced the force by 10 officers to 54. The FBI recommends that a municipality of Fair Lawn's size have at least 65 police officers.
By the end of the year 11 officers, about 20 percent of the force, will be eligible for retirement. And while Rose says that it is unlikely that all 11 will leave, the borough decided to begin preparing for the departure of some, to avoid overtime costs or gaps in coverage.
If none retire, he says, the department may look to add to its traffic safety unit or resurrect its DARE program. The new officers are expected to be fully active in the department by October.