Dryden, N.Y. — Village of Dryden officials are considering a series of possible changes to its police department, including dissolving it altogether.
Officials are now looking to Dryden residents for feedback and comments.
“I want to do what the majority of the residents within the village want to do, within reason,” said James Zimmer, the village’s mayor. “My intent is to get as much feedback from the residents of the village as we can.”
Zimmer said that, for now, his preference is to keep the police department “as it is.”
The Village is looking to lower taxes, which have seen more than a 5 percent increase annually over the last five years. The police department budget accounts for a large percent of tax dollars.
Among the officials’ considerations is the crime rate in Dryden. According to a study performed by Center for Governmental Research, the Village of Dryden has a slightly higher crime rate than the City of Ithaca and the property crime rate in the village is double the county average.
Tompkins Cortland Community College, located in the Town of Dryden, has recently armed its security guards, and it no longer needs village police to assist them.
While one option includes eliminating the police department, another being discussed is expanding it to cover the Town of Dryden.
Twenty percent of the service calls received by and responded to by village police are from outside the village. Most of these are within the Town of Dryden. None of the town’s tax revenue is used toward the village police department.
Here is an overview of the proposed changes:
Option 1: “Status Quo”- No changes to the police department. Projects additional increase of costs of $44,000.00 in the next year.
Option 2: “Eliminate Second Unmarked Car”- no immediate reduction in costs.
Option 3: “Reduce Hours of Mid-Level Supervisory Staff”- Reducing of hours by half would generate about $22,000.00 in savings; eliminating the positions of the lieutenant and sergeant would generate about $44,000.00 in savings.
Option 4: “Stop Patrolling Overnight”- Residents would depend on Tompkins County Sheriffs and State Troopers for service during those hours; savings: $60,000-$82,000.00.
Option 5: “Assign Chief to Patrol Duties”-This option would reduce the part-time staff; savings: about $17,000.00.
Option 6: “Increase Reliance on Part Time Officers”- Projected savings is about $39,000.00.
Option 7: “Eliminate Dryden Police Department”-The Village would rely on New York State Troopers and Tompkins County Sheriffs for their law enforcement needs; savings of $620,000.00.
Option 8: Eliminate Dryden Police and contract with Tompkins County Sheriff’s Office for dedicated patrol (16 hours/day)-This option would cost about $370,000.00 but save the Village $250,000.00 annually.
Option 9: Expanding the Village Police Department to serve the Town of Dryden. This would increase Town taxes but reduce the Village expense by $626,000.00.
See the full report here.
Zimmer went on to say “at this point in time, there is no determination as to what options will be exercised.”
Officials intend to hold an open, evening presentation at Dryden Village Hall in the Fall for residents to attend. That meeting and presentation has not yet been scheduled.