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Washington County communities talk about sharing police services

2011-04-13T16:27:00Z 2011-04-13T20:36:08Z Washington County communities talk about sharing police servicesBy DON LEHMAN--dlehman@poststar.com Glens Falls Post-Star
April 13, 2011 4:27 pm  • 

A study of shared services among Kingsbury, Hudson Falls and Fort Edward has the municipalities talking about how they could share police officers.

The talks come as Hudson Falls Police finds its officers are being sent to calls outside the village more frequently as Kingsbury's population grows and cutbacks take effect at the Washington County Sheriff's Office.

Kingsbury Supervisor James Lindsay said a number of options are being discussed, including what would happen with the Hudson Falls Police Department if the village of Hudson Falls is dissolved. Lindsay said he believed the department would continue to exist to provide protection to the town of Kingsbury.

He said the possibility of Hudson Falls Police covering Kingsbury if the village is not dissolved has been discussed, and it would be up to town residents to determine whether that should happen.

"The Police Department would probably continue as it is unless people in the town want it to expand," Lindsay said.

Hudson Falls Police Chief Randy Diamond said officers from his department have increasingly been sent to emergencies outside the village when they are the closest police patrol, or when they are needed for backup to other police agencies during potentially dangerous situations.

The recent construction of dozens of new apartment buildings on Dix Avenue in Kingsbury, just outside the village line, has resulted in more work outside the village for Hudson Falls Police.

"We're out there all the time," Diamond said.

Under state Criminal Procedure Law, officers only have the power to make arrests in their own jurisdiction.

Budget cuts have forced the county Sheriff's Office to cut back on patrols, which often leaves Hudson Falls Police as the closest patrols for calls just outside the village.

The villages of Hudson Falls and Fort Edward have also been talking about the interaction of their police forces, particularly the frequency with which Hudson Falls officers provide backup for the smaller Fort Edward department.

Fort Edward Police Chief Walt Sandford said his main concern is that officers from the village police departments not expose themselves to liability and act within their guidelines

"Our major concern is insurance coverage for out-of-the-village events."

Sandford said the recent collaboration of the villages of Greenwich and Cambridge to combine police forces has shown the municipalities what can be done.

"It's all preliminary and it's more for the attorneys and insurance companies to comprise," he said.

Diamond said he would be in favor of the village of Hudson Falls contracting with Kingsbury to provide police protection in the town, if that's what leaders in both municipalities want.

"I'm hoping something comes out of this," Diamond said.

Lindsay said the shared services/dissolution committee meetings will be public beginning in May, and he hopes residents will share ideas.

Hudson Falls Mayor John Barton could not be reached for comment.

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(12) Comments

  1. ControlURlife
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    ControlURlife - April 23, 2011 12:24 pm
    I wish a lot more people read the comments but maybe these few have some influence on friends & neightors.The HF Police are trying to save themselves from elimination which would save HF taxpayers A LOT of taxes.Out of the approximate $2mil budget the police department cost $1.4mil payroll & benies.That's 70% of the protery tax collected.If they consolidate with the county each county taxpayer would see about a $2 increase. Two dollars! Kingsbury taxpayers do you want to assume that $1.4mil plus when they need to hire more HF policemen?Naturally,the Village Board is for it.Trustee VanAenum's son-n-law is HF detective.There are several, several policemen related to each other.They are running scared for there $50,000+ jobs.We need a new Village Board elected in 2012 to end the nepotism and get this Village moving forward like village & towns around us.
  2. stewie
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    stewie - April 14, 2011 10:15 pm
    One last thought, since ol' Jim really wants to help out all the tax payers, I wonder if the ol' farmstead receives any tax payer funded subsidies or if the farm land is assessed at a lower rate than his non-farm owning neighbors? I mean, if either of those two items did apply then I think it would be a great good faith gesture to give back the subsides or volunteer to be assessed at full market value like everyone else. I don't know, just a thought.
  3. stewie
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    stewie - April 14, 2011 10:07 pm
    If Lindsay is so concerned with lowering the tax burden of the town residents then maybe he should try to get some businesses in the town (instead of doing the opposite...Golden Goal...Walmart...who knows what else...) Wasn't Walmart projected to bring in at least ONE MILLION DOLLARS worth of sales tax revenue to the town ANNUALLY? I think that is the figure I remember. What happened to that Jim? You should explain that to the tax payers. Obviously they wanted to come here because they are under construction about 2 inches across the county line. Too bad because our communities could have used that revenue. But hey, as long as we can buy lawn mowers here, what else do we really need? Wasn't someone's rally cry "no big box stores"? Hmmmmm? I wonder if there is a connection? Naw! Couldn't be! Elected officials need to do what is best for the ENTIRE community(not what's best for a few individuals). Obviously it's time to vote Jim out.
  4. stewie
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    stewie - April 14, 2011 9:52 pm
    The concept behind consolodation is to save money.Obviously Lindsay and Diamond are a bit cloudy on the concept. Even if HFPD did start covering the town, THE SHERIFF'S (and NYSP) WOULD STILL BE COVERING IT AS WELL! It makes no sense at all to have a little entity(i.e. HFPD)take over a little bigger piece of territory. Look at the money that will need to spent to bring them on par with what the Sheriff's can do (Accident Reconstruction,SWAT,K-9,etc). It makes sense fiscally to have the Sheriff's absorb HFPD. Nothing against the NYSP but we can have about 3 deputies for the price of 1 Trooper also. One other overlooked problem (cost) is all the money that would need to be spent on lawyers to "give" HFPD the power to patrol the town. There is no cost associated with that having the Sheriff's take over HF as it is already within their jurisdiction. All in all having the Sheriff's take over HF is a much smarter idea than growing HFPD. I live in the village and my vote is for the Sheriffs
  5. tony
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    tony - April 14, 2011 8:20 am
    "Chief Walt Sandford said his main concern is that officers from the village police departments not expose themselves to liability" - I would think the main concern would be citizen safety but I'm not chief of police.
  6. urmysunshine
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    urmysunshine - April 13, 2011 9:58 pm
    The villages of Hudson Falls and Fort Edward would serve their tax payers best by disolving their local police forces and allowing the County to have dedicated officers stationed in their villages. I live in the town of Kingsbury and never have I seen a village patrol car outside of the village, so I find it hard to believe that they are answering calls constantly. Nothing like Chief Diamond trying to make the County Sheriff's Department look like they aren't doing their job to make his department look good. Well this is one tax payer that isn't buying it. Mr.Lindsay should spend his time getting business into Kingsbury (cough, cough, Walmart. What happened there?)and leave the Sheriff's Department alone. It's time for Jim Lindsay to go.
  7. cg57
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    cg57 - April 13, 2011 9:19 pm
    washhomeowner, a police presence is needed in the village, so even if the village PD were dissolved, you would have to contract with the county for dedicated sheriffs patrols in the village, or village/town police districts. So you wouldn't eliminate all the costs, but could possibly cut the costs by eliminating some of the duplicate administration.
  8. cg57
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    cg57 - April 13, 2011 9:17 pm
    I think those that are reading into this that village PD doesn't have anything to do, so they look forward to going to calls outside the town are mistaken. They are requested to go there when a Sheriff or State Trooper are not nearby or available. I'm a town resident, live outside the village. Where I live, I feel safe enough that having additional police protection is not needed. However, parts of the town now have enough population that they may actually want some protection, think basically along rte 4, dix ave, and burgoyne ave. If they did, a district could be formed so that those residents would shoulder the cost of adding that protection, allowing the village PD to have jurisdiction. Abolishing the village PD. well, it could be done, and the personnel would become county sheriffs, and the town could contract with the county for coverage. Would save on the duplicate administration, dispatching etc. Should be studied further.
  9. jd82
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    jd82 - April 13, 2011 9:13 pm
    Agreed! Let Washington Co. Take over the duities of bored polic officers. First they'll get money and manpower from a consolidation, hopefully restoring the night patrols. And Washingon county residents will share in the need to fund a single police force. Whitehall and others take note, we could all benefit from a single police force. Why aren't we consolidating more? Dissolve the villages, sewer and water districts, share services and stop jamming the tax payer with huge legacy costs or more employees than we really need!
  10. Wowppl
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    Wowppl - April 13, 2011 8:10 pm
    Wow! Maybe the Village residents should look into saving some money on taxes and vote to dissolve the Village Police Department since they have nothing to do in the Village and think they need to respond to calls in another jurisdiction to look busy.
  11. countryboy
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    countryboy - April 13, 2011 7:28 pm
    Let me see if I understand this correctly. The Hudson Falls Police Department does not have any work in the village, so they are responding to calls outside the village? Seems to me if there is no need for a village department, maybe the village pd should merge into the Sheriff's office, so there are more officers to cover the town calls as there obviously aren't enough calls in the village to keep them busy. Why should village taxpayers be footing the bill for covering another community? Why would Kingsbury taxpayers want to pay higher taxes to have three agencies cover their calls (Sheriff, State Police and Hudson Falls)? When they go outside the village, they show up, stand around, say they were there and leave. They have no power outside the village, so why are they going? They certainly aren't being called directly. I thought there was a serious drug and burglary problem in Hudson Falls? Thats what they stated in earlier articles. Maybe they should focus on that first?
  12. washhomeowner
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    washhomeowner - April 13, 2011 6:38 pm
    As a Kingsbury resident I would definately not vote to contract with the Hudson Falls Police Department for police protection. The point of consolidation is to eliminate entities and thus save taxes. The best course of action would be to abolish the Hudson Falls Police Department and have the Sheriff's and State Police answer calls in the village. Anything else would cost Kingsbury residents an increase in our property taxes that are not needed since we already pay for and receive adequate police protection from the Sheriff's and State Police. If this simple concept is lost on our supervisor, Jim Lindsey then we definately need to vote to remove him from office and vote in someone who is actually looking out for the town residents. It would seem as though Chief Diamond is worried the Village will be fiscally responsible and eliminate his Police Department thus sending him scrambling to protect his little empire. His officers must not be that busy if they have so much time on their hands


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