GLENS FALLS — Arrests rose 15 percent and drug arrests skyrocketed nearly 85 percent in the city during 2017, according to the Glens Falls Police Department’s annual report.
The report showed a general increase in most law enforcement categories, with more felonies, misdemeanors and noncriminal charges being filed than the year before.
Drug arrests rose markedly in a trend that the head of the Police Department’s Detective Division attributed to more cooperation between police agencies in the region.
Detective Lt. Peter Casertino said the region’s drug problem does not seem to have worsened, but officers from throughout the region are sharing intelligence and manpower to target it.
“We are working more with other agencies,” he said.
The Detective Division also investigated five fatal suspected drug overdoses in 2017.
Calls for service increased by 10 percent, with the department fielding 16,181 calls during 2017.
For the first time in eight years, driving while intoxicated arrests rose. Overall though, they remain well below the high of 175 set in 2009, and the drop has been credited to the cleanup of South Street, change in the city’s “last call” time to 3 a.m. (from 4 a.m.) and closure of several bars.
The department dealt with a double homicide in 2017, the killing of a mother and child that resulted in a major multi-agency investigation and prosecution. The suspect, Bryan M. Redden, pleaded guilty to two murder counts last month.
Glens Falls Police Chief Tony Lydon said the increase in drug arrests stemmed from a “proactive approach to policing,” although he did not elaborate.
The department did initiate a number of beefed-up foot patrol efforts on weekends during the spring and summer to respond to increases in complaints of possible gang activity in the wake of a brawl and stabbing.
Notable in the report:
* The department dealt with four robbery complaints in 2017, with only the November bank robbery at NBT Bank on Glen Street remaining unsolved.
* The Police Department has upgraded its audio-video equipment for recording interviews and put equipment in additional rooms.
* Glens Falls Police brought in five new officers during 2017. The department has 28 officers, with a recruit in the Zone 5 Law Enforcement Training Academy who will join the force later this year.
* The department’s officers did not use their Taser electronic stun guns at all during the year.
FORT EDWARD — Washington County will begin negotiations to prepare meals for seniors in Warren County, supervisors decided Thursday.
After a contentious two weeks, the supervisors decided unanimously to move forward with a proposal that seemed to have been approved months ago.
Late last year, the county sent in a response to a Warren County request for proposals, offering to make meals for seniors. But when Warren County appeared poised to accept the proposal last week, supervisors in Washington County suddenly had a lot of questions.
At a Finance Committee meeting Thursday, Sheriff Jeff Murphy explained the program and its costs.
The cost-per-meal that he proposed to Warren County included the assumption that he would fill two part-time cook positions, he said.
He has made inquiries to hire two of the four part-timers that would be laid off in Warren County if the meals program is moved to Washington County.
“Maybe we could be good neighbors,” he said.
The price also gives him plenty of cushion in case of cost increases in food, utilities or other items. He expects the county would end up well in the black.
Treasurer Al Nolette independently reviewed the plan. He reported to the supervisors that he believed the county would receive $79,000 after expenses. Murphy told supervisors he predicted $77,000, after more cautious budgeting.
“We still think we can make these meals for Warren County, deliver them to Warren County, and at the end of the year still have a $77,000 profit,” Murphy said.
Warren County officials project that they would save $74,000 by outsourcing the preparing of the meals.
The meals would be delivered to the Cedars Senior Living Community in Queensbury. From there, they would be distributed by Warren County.
Washington County workers prepare meals for seniors in the jail kitchen, which was built for about 1,500 meals a day. But the kitchen is only lightly used.
There are only 100 inmates at the jail right now, and the county buys pre-packaged meals for them. They’re a very different quality from the meals for seniors: a set of three meals for an inmate costs less than $2, and include “textured vegetable protein,” county officials said. Only one of those meals is served hot, so the kitchen has to cook about 100 meals a day for the inmates.
That’s left the staff with plenty of time to also make about 300 meals a day for Washington County seniors. Those meals are made fresh.
Warren County needs another 300 meals, which would double the work for the kitchen staff. But they have such a large facility, with plenty of unused space for food prep plus large ovens and stovetops, that they could easily prepare larger amounts of food without it requiring more workers, county officials said.
Supervisors were persuaded after all three department heads involved in the program — jail, Office for the Aging and the treasurer’s office — approved of the plan.
Greenwich Supervisor Sara Idleman said she was “fully satisfied” by the report. The supervisors unanimously agreed to begin contract negotiations.