ENDICOTT, NY – The Endicott Police Chief and President of the Police Union are speaking out against the possibility of merger the department with the Broome County Sheriff’s Office.
Mayor John Bertoni is in discussions with Sheriff Dave Harder to have his office take over policing the village.
The basic outline of the proposal would have current officers, with the exception of the Chief and some supervisors, become members of the Sheriff’s Department.
Endicott would pay the county for the coverage at a projected annual savings of $200,000.
Endicott Chief Michael Cox says he believes his department can provide the best service at the best price and he questions the $200,000 savings estimate. “That figure works out to about $30 per household for the tax base here in the village per year of potential savings. And I say potential because those figures are not finalized. And they don’t include the numerous questions that have to be answered, several issues that would need to be resolved.”
Cox says the Sheriff’s Office is not accustomed to policing an urban environment. And he says even though the numbers of officers in Endicott has decreased by 8 since December, his department has managed to reorganize to keep the same number of patrol cars on the streets and keep the Village safe.
Officer Dennis DeWitte is President of the Police Benevolent Association. DeWitte says, “Our officers have been sworn to protect and serve the village residents here. And that’s what we want to continue to do. Because we do it the best, I think. Bringing in the Sheriff’s Department, I think, is not going to be the same quality of services that we now provide.”
DeWitte says the union is open to discussing cost saving concessions with the Village. However, he says a grievance was filed against the Village over low staffing levels to protect both the viability of the department and the safety of residents.