The villages of Greenwich and Cambridge have agreed on a new five-year contract to share police services, keeping the Cambridge-Greenwich Police Department alive after some in Greenwich had considered ending the deal.
Provisions in the contract allow either village to opt out with 6 months notice. So the deal does not preclude Greenwich village officials from going forward in the future with disbanding its portion of the department, a move they have considered.
Cambridge Mayor Carman Bogle said the two villages agreed to continue the shared services arrangement that began 13 years ago. It was a precedent-setting deal in the region when it happened and has been followed to a lesser degree by the villages of Whitehall and Granville in recent years.
“It’s pretty much the same contract as five years ago,” Bogle said. “It gives each village the option to consider other opportunities with six months of notice.’
She said they will continue to share administrative services and officer scheduling, with Sgt. Robert Danko continuing to serve as officer-in-charge for the department. Danko may become chief in the future.
“He’s doing a wonderful job,” she said. “The majority of the public are already calling him ‘chief.’”
The only notable changes made were to clarify liability insurance for each village, Bogle said.
Greenwich Mayor Pam Fuller, who could not be reached for comment this week, had said earlier this year she wanted to hold a public referendum to see what village residents want for police protection when the 2018-19 fiscal year ends next spring. Those comments came after the death of longtime Cambridge-Greenwich Police Chief George Bell on March 11.
Having its own police department had been a growing expense for the village, and she said at the time she wanted to see if residents were interested in other options.
Village attorney Andrew Kelly said there were no immediate plans for such a vote, as the village is dealing with more pressing water system issues and is satisfied with the policing arrangement. The six-month out clause had been present in prior contracts, he pointed out.
“There’s nothing happening on that front right now,” he said of a possible policing switch.
He said public meetings would be held to get the input of village residents before any decisions are made about a vote or move to another form of police protection.
Washington County Sheriff Jeff Murphy said his agency had not heard from Greenwich village officials about a contract to increase Sheriff’s Office patrols in the village.
Municipalities that do away with their own police departments typically contract with countywide agencies for additional protection to replace the local patrols.