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Village considers police contract

Public hearing Monday could result in end to contract with county Sheriff’s Office

December 20, 2008
By KERRY McAVOY /The Leader-Herald

FULTONVILLE - The village will conduct a public hearing Monday to decide if it should stop using the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office for its police protection.

Trustee Brian Kearns put forth the resolution last month to cancel the village's $10,000-a-year contract with the Sheriff's Office.

Kearns has let his displeasure with the sheriff's office be known during several Village Board meetings, saying he wanted to see the office become more proactive in writing tickets. Kearns said he would also like to see more police protection in the area.

Mayor Robert Headwell said he asked for a public hearing to allow the citizens to have a say in what their police protection is.

"If they say we don't want [the Sheriff's Office] then we will vote on it," Headwell said. "If they say we do want [the Sheriff's Office] then hopefully it will be pulled from the table."

The contract began about 10 years ago, when the village and the Sheriff's Office agreed to have police protection provided by the county.

"I am very opposed to this resolution," Headwell said Friday.

Headwell said in the past 11 months the sheriff's deputies have written 189 tickets and given out 124 warnings. He said this has brought about $7,500 worth of revenue into the village.

"When all is said and done it cost us about $2,500 for this service," Headwell said.

"The [sheriff's deputies] go around [Fultonville] and check businesses' doors to make sure they are locked," Headwell said. "The village [offices] and the Fire Department have both received calls saying the doors need to be locked."

Headwell cited the case of several youths who were arrested for burglary around the area as an example of why the sheriff's contract is needed.

Soon after the arrests of about 11 students from Fonda-Fultonville for a mini-crime spree that affected several areas in the eastern half of Montgomery County over the summer, the village created a curfew law.

The ordinance requires youths under the age of 18 to be off the streets between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. Without the sheriff's deputies, this ordinance could be rendered useless.

"The state troopers do not enforce local ordinances, only the sheriffs do," Headwell said. "With no sheriff's contract, what good is anything we have?" Headwell said.

Headwell said he understands everyone will have a different opinion on what the sheriff's office should be doing in this situation.

"I know it's a tough issue because we don't want to pit one against another," Headwell said. "What good is that for the entire community?"

The public hearing is set for 6:30 p.m. at the village offices, 10 Erie St.

"I hope people come forward and say, 'We've done this for 10 years and we have a low crime rate because of it,'" Headwell said.

Kearns could not be reached for comment on Friday.

Kerry McAvoy covers Montgomery County. She can be reached at montco@leaderherald.com

 
 

 

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