Study soon to begin on policing services in Orleans County

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 26 April 2016 at 12:00 am

Photo by Tom Rivers – A deputy patrol car for the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office is parked outside the county jail.

ALBION – A study will soon get started looking at law enforcement services in Orleans County, an investigation that will include police chiefs and elected officials from the four villages and Orleans County.

County officials, representatives from the business community and other yet-to-be-named members of a committee will explore the efficiency of current local law enforcement operations and compare them with alternative policing models, including the potential consolidation of all local departments into one.

The state is providing a $36,000 matching “Local Government Efficiency Grant” for the study. The county is paying the other $36,000. The county is seeking proposals from consultants to help with the study. Those proposals are due May 18.

County officials have set May 2017 for completion of the report with recommendations and alternatives for the community.

The study will look at the operations at the Sheriff’s Office, and the Albion, Medina and Holley police departments. Lyndonville also has a part-time officer.

There may be opportunities for shared administration, joint purchasing and other initiatives that would keep the existing village police departments. Or the committee may suggest the village departments be dissolved with a county-wide force taking the lead.

If the villages dissolved their police departments, it would provide significant tax relief for villages. However, county taxes would likely then go up.

Holley has talked before of dissolving its police department and Medina, as part of a failed dissolution proposal last year, said a town-wide force in Shelby and Ridgeway could be created.

County Legislature Chairman David Callard has said he wants to be proactive in looking at policing services and not be caught off guard by a village that dissolves its force, expecting the Sheriff’s Office to assume village road patrols and calls.

The study will look at alignment of current compensation and benefits agreements, determining the costs of a combined police force. The committee will look at potential obstacles to consolidation and provide guidance to overcome those obstacles, according to the county’s RFP.

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