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List names top three for Canton police chief job

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CANTON — The top three candidates for the Canton village police chief job include two members of St. Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department and a law enforcement officer from Nassau County.

Four people passed a police chief civil service exam given March 23, with the top three scorers forwarded to village officials for their consideration.

Victor N. Rycroft, who has served as the village’s temporary police chief since June 2012, said he took the multiple-choice test, but did not pass.

“It was a grueling exam,” Mr. Rycroft said Monday. “I think if I was meant to be here forever I would have done better.”

The top three scorers include Nathaniel A. Amritt of Nassau County, Det. Augustus T. “Gus” Burns, Lisbon, and Deputy Shawn Wells, Canton, said Christopher S. Boulio, St. Lawrence County’s director of human resources.

Lori A. McDougal, a sergeant with the Canton Village Police force from the town of Oswegatchie, was the fourth highest scorer.

Village Clerk Sally A. Noble said letters were mailed to the eligible candidates asking if they want to be considered for the full-time position, which pays $75,000 a year.

“It’s a generic canvas letter to see if the person is interested,” Mrs. Noble said. “If they are not interested, the letter asks them to explain why not.”

Mr. Boulio said if a candidate on the top three list is not interested, Ms. McDougal’s name would move up a notch.

If fewer than three eligible candidates are interested in the job, the village is not required to fill the job and can request another civil service exam, he said. However, if three candidates are available who passed the exam, the village is obligated to fill the job and hire from the list.

Mayor David P. Curry said a decision about the police chief should be made within the next month.

“I think we’ve got a strong pool. Everybody has a good shot at it,” Mr. Curry said.

The mayor had strong praise for Mr. Rycroft.

“I think Vic has done a great job for the village, and we’ll have to see what happens in the future,” Mr. Curry said. “I know the officers are pleased with having Vic as police chief. He has their respect.”

Mrs. Noble said all five members of the village board would be involved in the hiring process. The new hire would be placed on probation for two to 12 months, with the village board determining the time period.

Mr. Rycroft, a retired state police sergeant from Morley, has served as temporary chief for the past year. He was appointed to replace Basil W. Cheney, who resigned after a month on the job after discovering that the $75,000 annual police chief salary was less than he was paid as a sergeant in the department when overtime was included.

Mr. Rycroft said that even if he had passed the exam and were offered the job, “I’d have to think really hard whether to accept.”

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