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January 5, 2014

Opposing plans for Reserve Center in Malone

Law enforcement, advocates for the homeless seek Malone building

(Continued)

Selenski said he hopes to meet with Social Services Commissioner Lesley Lyon this week to discuss possibilities.

ASSESSING THE SITE

Champagne said the sheer size of the reserve building and property may make it far too big for homeless-related services to be housed there.

He plans to contact an architect and representatives from a variety of local, state and federal law-enforcement agencies to conduct a walk-through.

The General Services Administration has maintained the building, so it may not have deteriorated much since it was last used in 2008.

INTELLIGENCE CENTER

The DA said he wants the law-enforcement community to combine its efforts along the northern border by bringing together the county’s Narcotics and Border Task Force and personnel from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, U.S. Division of Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Border Patrol, National Guard, State Police and representatives from municipal police departments in Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake and Malone.

That plan has had the blessing of Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) and U.S. Rep. Bill Owens (D-Plattsburgh) for years, as it would create the Northern Border Intelligence Center.

“The northern border is the only one without an intelligence center,” Champagne said, adding that many arrests and prosecutions in New York City are connected to drug trafficking here.

He said that could be stemmed if the state put a concentrated investigatory unit in place to share information with other agencies, as law enforcement in other regions can do.

“Why is the North Country left out?” he said. “This is an opportunity to say ‘the governor is making great strides on economic development and bringing jobs to the North Country. Now, we need to do something for law enforcement that other regions of the state have.

“The Northern Border Intelligence Center would be the best-case scenario because it will bring eight to 10 high-paying jobs to the North Country, and we would be caught up with the rest of the state,” the DA said.

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