The Yale Police Department will increase the number of officers working on its force in order to better address campus crime issues, police officials said.
YPD Chief James Perrotti said the number of police officers will increase from 78 to 83 by next fall. The increase, which Perrotti said has been approved by University officials, will allow the YPD to permanently adopt the walking and street patrols that began last semester in response to a rise in levels of street crime.
“This was approved by [the administration] last semester when we took a total look at criminal incidents,” he said. “The officers of the University decided to let us hire more.”
While Perrotti said the staffing increase is not in direct response to last semester’s wave of muggings and armed robberies, he said last semester’s events helped persuade University officials to raise the funding available to the department. The department is currently interviewing applicants to fill at least five positions, YPD Lt. Michael Patten said. Several YPD officers have retired from the YPD’s force over the past year, Patten said, but seven of these officers have already been replaced by new hires.
Though the overall size of the department will only increase by five officers, police officials said they expect the impact of the increase to be substantial. Perrotti said that with the new levels of funding, the University will be able to permanently adopt changes made to patrols last semester that the YPD found to be effective at limiting street crime.
“Whenever you are increasing staffing levels, you’re always able to provide better types of patrols and coverage,” he said. “[We want] to make certain that we have adequate staffing to address crime issues.”
After a series of student muggings around the edge of campus that began last fall, the YPD began implementing changes meant to increase police presence in student-populated areas. Patten said the changes, including supplementary patrols in the Edgewood neighborhood and walking patrols during evening hours, were paid for with funding allocated for overtime. With more police officers on staff, Patten said, it will be possible to fill the positions permanently without dipping into overtime pay.
Patten said the YPD also plans to continue plainclothes patrols that provide an extra safety measure.
Although the increased staff level has not yet been announced to the Yale community by the YPD, some students said they welcome any additional police presence around campus.
Mila Dunbar-Irwin ’07, who said that while she was living on Crown Street last semester, her apartment was broken into three times during a four-month period, said she thinks more police officers will better equip the YPD to prevent crimes in residential neighborhoods near campus.
“I think it’s a good thing,” she said. “It can only make the situation better.”
In order to become officers, Perrotti said, applicants must pass through an extensive screening process including a written test, panel interview, physical agility test and psychological screening. Of the 338 candidates who passed the written prequalification exam, Patten said only 5 percent will be hired.