Members of the crowded into the village board room Monday night to welcome a 22nd member.
"On behalf of the Village of Pleasantville, we are very delighted to add another female officer," said Deputy Mayor Mindy Berard. "We look forward to many years of service from you, Morgan, and your previous recommendations surely meant a lot to us in our consideration."
Morgan Dillon joined the department as a police officer, effective Monday, at an annual salary of $64,883. She comes to the village after serving as an officer for five years in the Westchester County Department of Public Safety.
"Morgan comes from a police family—her father was a detective so she understands firsthand the role that is expected of her," Chief of Police Richard Love said. "She comes to us with a great deal of knowledge, training and compassion."
Love noted it is the sixth time in less than one year that the village has authorized a promotion or hiring in the department.
"Since October of last year, we have been fortunate enough to promote , —and as of tonight— new , in which two are females, negating a substantial void this apartment has had for 10 years," he said.
Said Village Trustee Brian Skarstad, "I truly appreciate our chief's efforts to hire female officers...I think that is a spectacular development for the Pleasantville department."
While the board agreed the chief's recommendations are commendable, Trustee Colleen Griffin Wagner said that while Dillon may be female, she is also "the best qualified candidate who happened to be a woman" for the position.
Trustee Jonathan Cunningham added he believes the department is not only becoming more diverse with the addition of female officers, but "across ethnic bounds" as well.
Love himself from detective lieutenant in May 2011.
"When I took command of this department, I knew that change had to begin at the top," he noted, "but I also realized that in order to sustain any change that new entry-level positions needed to be addressed as well."
The Chief said, "In order for our community and our efforts to flourish, diversification needs to be an essential element."
Cunningham added the recent slew of departmental changes "have not been made without a real analysis of the budget as well."
"The Police Department was running a pretty high overtime amount the last couple of years," he continued. "We not only have been able to—as the chief alluded to—improve the quality of the department, but we have also been able to do it in a manner that is very much fiscally responsible."
Skarstad pointed out, "In a perfect world, we have more police officers than we do now; but because of budgetary considerations, we are still quote on quote undermanned."
"This is a really special place to work. We have an incredible police force here," Berard told Dillon. "They are very close to the community, and as the chief likes to say, they are the face of the community. So we certainly look forward to you being one of those faces."