Scotia board drops police consolidation plans

Internal committee to be formed for reorganization, shared services

The proposal to dissolve the Scotia Police Department was tossed aside Wednesday, April 5, after much public outcry.

The Village of Scotia and the Town of Glenville had just begun consolidation talks after Scotia Mayor Kris Kastberg approached town officials, but the Village Board of Trustees on Wednesday unanimously chose to forgo any future talks.

The board's work session, which had been moved to the Lincoln Elementary School cafeteria, was filled to capacity with residents looking to weigh in on the proposal.

The board tonight said that they did not favor putting together a consolidation committee, said Kastberg after the meeting. "We are going to look at our own department, but still intend to work with the Town of Glenville to see where we can collaborate rather than consolidate."

Plans to form an internal committee to evaluate the Village Police Department for any possible savings and enhancement to services will now be pursued. This would involve cutting back on the overtime of police officers, which Scotia Chief Thomas Rush said is already down to the "bare-bones." Kastberg also has tossed around the idea of sharing an investigator with the town to help ease patrol officer workload. The minimal contract requirement is to have two police officers on during any given shift.

"The question is, what can we do to restructure [and] how we do our shifts and maintain better coverage in the village," said Kastberg. "It is complex because there are contractual issues involved."

The big turnout at the meeting wasn't a surprise to Kastberg, and several residents addressed the board for roughly an hour. The general consensus was that even if taxes had to increase, they would pay to continue the high patrol amount per square mile.

"I understand that we are looking for ways to economize and to make things better for our residents," said Gary Normington, member of the Scotia-Glenville Board of Education. "One of the things that I am here for is I am a parent first, and I look at what my three boys are going to have in this community. I know right now the officers in this town look out for our children so if we start to go to a larger police force where they don't know our village and they don't know our kids, I'm afraid we are going to lose that connection."

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