By JOHN McLOUGHLIN
SCHENECTADY, N.Y. -- Seven new police recruits got sworn in Monday at Schenectady City Hall, but the occasion is marred by yet another veteran officer who has been suspended.
City officials refused to say why Lt. Edwin Marcinkowski, a 35-year veteran, has been suspended with pay, pending an internal affairs investigation.
The Schenectady Police Department has been rocked by scandal and charges of corruption within the ranks for several years. But Mayor Brian Stratton and Public Safety Commissioner Wayne Bennett say they are cleaning up the department by suspending and firing cops but the process takes time.
Stratton has added 66 cops to the ranks since he became mayor in 2004 and he says only one has gotten into trouble.
The commissioner says, with veterans being fired and investigated, Schenectady now has one of the youngest departments in the area.
Police Chief Mark Chaires says younger police officers are usually less susceptible to the corner-cutting practices of veteran cops.
The new officers are: Joseph T. Gatta, attended Hartwick College and Hudson Valley Community College; Timothy E. Higgins, attends Schenectady Community College; Ernest J. LaGuardia, 2008 graduate of SUNY Cobleskill; Jonathan M. Pietrafesa, graduate of Sage College of Albany; James L. Sokolowski, 2008 graduate of U-Albany; Ryan R. Thorne, attends Hudson Valley Community College, and Michael R. Wood, 2010 graduate of the College of Saint Rose.