Amherst Town Board Votes to Restore Police Department to Full Strength

July 21, 2014 Updated Jul 21, 2014 at 11:18 PM EDT

By Jill Perkins

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July 21, 2014 Updated Jul 21, 2014 at 11:18 PM EDT

Amherst, N.Y. (WKBW-TV) The Amherst police department now has the go-ahead to hire three new members of the force, and one has signed on already.

But the decision didn't come without some clashing on the town board.

A three to two vote to restore the department to full strength, from 150 to 153 officers happened was cast Monday.

Council member Mark Manna, who voted in favor of the resolution, wants the chief of police to propose candidates for the next meeting in two weeks.

But Manna's eagerness was met with resistance from Supervisor Barry Weinstein, as to how soon the hires are supposed to happen.

"Thats not what the resolution says, please reread the resolution," Weinstein said to Manna after the councilman asked the chief of police to round up candidates for the next meeting.

Manna says the need for more officers is urgent, with the department being one of the smallest based on similar communities of size and growth.

Weinstein voted no because he feels the resolution doesn't change anything, adding that the board was always working to get the number of officers back up to 153, but that there is a process and that hiring the best takes time.

So what does the supervisor think Manna has to gain by speeding the process up?

"I assume he is responding to the police union that endorsed him in the last election."

But Manna says his vote is about safety, telling Eyewitness News "some people are more concerned with saving pennies than keeping the town safe and secure."