GLOVERSVILLE - Donald VanDeusen, who was named the city's police chief nearly three months ago, so far is getting high marks from city officials and residents.
"He's doing a fantastic job," said Richard Sleezer, who's working with VanDeusen to form neighborhood watch groups.
Mayor Dayton King said morale seems to be up in the department since VanDeusen took over the chief's post.
Gloversville Police Chief Donald Van Deusen sits at his desk this morning at City Hall.
The Leader-Herald/ Lisa D. Connell
"I couldn't have asked for a better two and a half months," King said.
VanDeusen, 42, was sworn in by King on May 8. He worked his way up the ranks, having started with the department in 1990. He replaced former Chief Edgar Beaudin, who retired. VanDeusen's annual salary is $88,500.
The new chief is putting an emphasis on community policing - having patrol officers walk downtown and on neighborhood streets to get to know the residents and show their presence. VanDeusen said the effort continues to grow.
VanDeusen said running the department efficiently and effectively with its current $2.33 million budget is a challenge.
"We're still all trying to do more with less," he said.
When he joined the force, the department comprised 40 people. Today, that number is down to 30.
"We still try to give the best response time that we can," he said.
Investigations into drug-related crime remain a department focus, he said. He also said domestic-violence calls remain high.
"That's just something that's always been an issue in this area," he said.
A $25,000 grant program last year allowed the department to follow up on incidents of domestic abuse. Under the program, officers return to the residence to speak with those involved after they've calmed down. VanDeusen accompanied responding officers on some of the return calls.
"I was really surprised to see how well received the officers were," he said.
The program is worthwhile, he said, and he hopes the department will receive the grant again.
His goals for the department include maintaining a visible police presence in the community to deter crime, and "to provide the highest level of services that we can give on a daily basis and to ensure public safety to the best of our ability."
He gives credit to the officers in his department.
"It's the guys that are going out there every day doing their jobs, day in and day out," said VanDeusen. "I feel they do it as well, if not more, than people do in this profession."
Some community members say they are noticing positive changes in the department.
Shirley and Richard Sleezer, longtime Gloversville residents, are working with VanDeusen to form area neighborhood watch groups. The Neighborhood Watch Program is a national program aimed at reducing crime through residents and authorities working together.
"I've noticed more police in the area and more police on Main Street," said Shirley Sleezer.
Police Capt. John Sira said he's known the chief for about 20 years.
Sira, VanDeusen and Captain of Detectives Anthony Clay have a strong working relationship, Sira said. That professionalism radiates throughout the department, he said.
The rank-and-file officers are performing their jobs effectively, Sira said. It's become a proactive force, he said.
"I think the people who reap the benefits are the citizens who rely on services," Sira said.
Lisa D. Connell covers Gloversville news. She can be reached at email@example.com.