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.