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Law enforcement study should include Major Felony Crimes Task Force

Posted 8 January 2017 at 5:45 pm


On December 26, 2016, the Orleans Hub ran an article about meetings being scheduled to seek community input on law enforcement services in Orleans County. I think any shared services, equipment, or training between law enforcement agencies would be a great way to save financial resources for all municipalities involved.

If we take the consolidation a step further and establish a unit that consolidates all the village police departments into one agency, it should be the Sheriff’s Department that absorbs the smaller agencies. Being that the County Sheriff is the highest law enforcement administrator in the land and is elected by the people, it is only fitting that the Sheriff should be charged with maintaining county-wide law enforcement services.

Additionally, the Sheriff’s Office should be overseeing the Orleans County Major Felony Crimes Task Force (MFCTF). Currently the MFCTF is run out of the Orleans County District Attorney’s Office which differs from the vast majority of other counties in New York. Many citizens, including local attorney Shirley Gorman, believe this arrangement and association creates a conflict of interest.

In an Orleans Hub article published on September 23, 2014, Gorman was quoted as saying that “the DA’s office is creating the crime,” and “it’s not the action of a police department… It’s a task force run by the DA’s Office.” She also stated that she believes the task force violates due process and a fair trial.

Being that the MFCTF officers are county employees who have arresting powers and perform investigations, they should fall under the supervision of the Sheriff and not the District Attorney. It seems like basic common sense that if the MFCTF was supervised by the Sheriff’s Office, it would at the least reduce the conflict of interest and legal liability as it currently exists, and would also go a long way to improving the operation and organization of the unit.

Your voice can be heard this Tuesday, Jan. 10, at the Hoag Library 4 to 5:30 p.m. & and at the Ridgeway Fire Hall on Ridge Road from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

For a better & safer Orleans.

Wayne Litchfield


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