GREECE, N.Y. — The Greece Special Police unit is looking for new people to join the team.
These are New York state certified peace officers. The Greece unit is the biggest in Monroe County and has been lending a hand to residents and Greece police for decades. Now the unit hopes to fill at least 15 open positions.
Mike DiCataldo is the Greece Special Police chief. He has been with the unit for more than 30 years and said it fills a desire he's always had to serve his community.
"I was looking to get into law enforcement. That didn't happen. So I enjoyed serving the community and that experience,” said DiCataldo.
DiCataldo is also the owner of NYRA Trophies and Awards, but the flexible volunteer hours with the Special Police unit allowed him to get the best of both worlds.
Most of the time, they can be found at large events directing traffic or guarding local parks. However, they are required to have most of the training a police officer would get to be able to handle any situation.
"The level of service that we provide as a Special Police officer is unique because we do have a law enforcement role,” said DiCataldo. “It's minimal because we let the full-time officers handle the full-time business, and we support their needs any way we can."
If they spot a crime being committed, Chief DiCataldo said they have the right to "interview and detain" until police officers get to the scene. They are not given guns, but they are given tasers and batons for protection.
Volunteering a minimum of 12 hours a month with the Greece Special Police is also a great opportunity for people like Ahd Almansoob, who is interested in one day becoming an officer.
"It's actually been a long dream of mine since I was very young,” said Almansoob. “And growing up into it, I've learned more about it. I want to help people. I want to serve my community. I want to strengthen ties between the police and community, mostly with all the current events occurring. And I just want to be there for people."
Almansoob is 25 years old and has been with the Greece Special Police Department for only seven months. He works full-time at the Monroe County Youth Detention Center.
He is volunteering and studying to join the police force at a time when police departments across the country are having a hard time filling positions.
"Because of the way society has been the last year, it's nationwide that law enforcement for full-time officers, the interest is lower, and we're seeing that too where people will say 'well right now might not be the best time.' Unfortunately, they don't see what I see where it's more positive feedback than negative, but it's a personal choice,” said DiCataldo.
However, both DiCataldo and Almansoob said the experience is worth it.
If you are a resident of Monroe County, at least 20 years old, and have earned your high school diploma, you can join the department by applying at greecespecialpolice.com.
"Whether you're going into law enforcement or not, it's a great experience, you get to serve your community, you get to gain knowledge, you get to...see how it is from a different perspective,” said Almansoob.