“People say that we have everything here. Well, we’ve been able to put ourselves in the 21st century with technology and training, and it’s all because of that drug money,” Racicot said.
“We are fortunate because other cities our size are not in proximity of a border, and they don’t get as much asset-seizure funding.”
The Press-Republican examined the police budgets and staffing of three similar-sized communities: Ogdensburg, Oneonta and Oswego.
Plattsburgh, Oneonta and Oswego are all home to college campuses — definitely a factor in terms of law-enforcement demands.
In Oneonta, the 2012 Police Department budget was $3.3 million, half the size of Plattsburgh’s.
The department is authorized for 28 law-enforcement personnel, but Police Chief Dennis Nayor said they are presently at 26, so it is considerably smaller than Plattsburgh, at 56.
The force covers just under 3 square miles, which includes about 15,000 people, two colleges and a bustling downtown, Nayor said.
The department’s budget was $1.9 million in 2002 and $2.5 million in 2007. Its size hasn’t grown in that time, Nayor said, and that low-growth trend goes back 50 years.
Fine and forfeiture revenue in 2012 was $325,000.
Officers work five eight-hour shifts a week, regularly scheduled for 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., 4 p.m. to midnight, and midnight to 8 a.m.
The starting salary for an officer last year was $37,500, and the top salary is $55,500. For sergeants, those figures are $58,208 and $65,413, respectively.
“We are constantly reviewing everything from organizational structure to staffing to see if it is sufficient for what we do,” Nayor said.
The Oswego Police Department 2012 budget was about $5.44 million.
Oswego Police Capt. David Lizotte said they cover an area of 11.2 square miles. The city has a population of about 18,200, a little less than Plattsburgh, and is also home to a SUNY campus.