By M. LISA MONROE
Ever since September of 2006 the Town of Webb Police Department and the Inlet Police Department have worked under a shared services agreement. This agreement maintains two departments but allows the officers to work in either Town of Webb or Inlet and allows many responsibilities to be shared. But the departments are still two distinct entities. The town boards of the Town of Webb and Inlet have been exploring the idea of making one department that would serve both towns. The main barrier in the way of consolidation of departments is that, even though the towns are only 11 miles away from each other, they are in different counties. Even though New York State encourages the consolidations of departments, it’s been difficult working it out when the departments are in different counties.
“If not for the invisible line drawn through the two towns by county boundaries, this probably would have happened long ago. All the discussion and political support has been generated because of our inability to move forward because our adjoining towns happen to be in two separate counties,” said Town of Webb councilwoman Barb Green. Green is a member of the Police Consolidation Committee.
The committee wanted to get legislation attached to this year’s budget allowing for the consolidation, but it didn’t get attached in time. The committee thinks that despite the challenges, consolidation is a good move for the towns.
“The police departments and towns have believed for many years that the consolidation would benefit all. It would allow for one police chief, administration and a structure for ranking of officers. It would increase interest in applicants who want to be part of a larger police department with the ability to advance their career. This would result in more efficient use of manpower,” Green said.
Once legislation is passed the town’s will write up a contract that will detail how the consolidation will work.
49th State Senate District State Senator Jim Tedisco’s (R,C,I, REF-Glenville) Chief of Staff, Adam Kramer, has told the committee that the legislation is being written.
“…with support from both Inlet and Webb Police Chiefs, Supervisors and Town Board members and also Assemblyman Marc Butler and Hamilton County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Farber,” said Green.
No timeline is in place yet to complete the progress.