Press-Republican

Local News

October 24, 2012

Malone police force not guaranteed in dissolution

(Continued)

But town law prohibits such fragmented police coverage. 

No state approval is needed if a town is to create a townwide force.

Beltramo said “the ‘pro’ of not having a police department is that taxes would go down dramatically. And village taxes would go down precipitously.” 

The Village Police Department costs taxpayers about $1.4 million, but there are no estimates on how much a townwide force may cost.

One factor is that the patrol territory would be nearly four times the size of the existing village territory.

There are 24.77 miles of village streets, according to the Department of Public Works and 97.09 miles of roads in the Town of Malone, according to the Highway Department.

The Village Police Department has 13 officers, including Chief Chris Premo, and a fleet of four vehicles.

The town would likely hire more officers and buy more vehicles, which could eat up any potential savings.

And it also raises residents’ concerns about increased response times in emergencies.

Town Council member Jack Sullivan is not in favor of a townwide force because of the volume of calls patrols would handle.

“In Seneca Falls, when they went to a townwide police department, the number of calls went up 305 percent,” he said. “And from my personal point of view, I don’t want to pay more money for the same protection.”

He lives in the town and has had to rely on the State Police. 

“And when we’ve called, they responded quickly,” he said. “I don’t want to change that. And a townwide force can be very expensive.”

Town Supervisor Howard Maneely is also opposed.

“I don’t think the taxpayers can afford a townwide police force. And if they do dissolve the village, I will be pushing to create a special police district.”

Maneely said Town Council members haven’t discussed their views, but “it’s hard to keep the budget in line, and it would be unfair to everybody in the town if we went to a townwide department. We have good State Police coverage now.”

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