NEWFIELD, N.Y.—The Tompkins County Sheriff’s Office is soon to add a satellite location in the Town of Newfield.
The office is materializing at the request of Newfield Town government. Town Supervisor Michael Allinger started the conversation with the Tompkins County Sheriff’s Office just before the COVID-19 pandemic spurred nationwide shutdowns in March 2020.
“This is a way for us to increase our interaction with that community,” said Tompkins County Derek Osborne. He later added, “And we wouldn’t just slap any deputy in a community.”
Sheriff’s Deputy Nathan Humble will be working out of the satellite office, to be located in the Newfield Town Hall. Humble is a lifelong Newfield resident, where he lives with his family. He has a son that has matriculated through the Newfield school system.
He emphasized that he tries to keep a strong presence in Newfield when he’s off-the-clock, like playing games of pick-up basketball. He expressed that he doesn’t want to be seen as a stranger when he’s responding to calls.
“At the end of the day you want people to feel comfortable when they do need you for an actual, legitimate complaint,” said Humble. “And I think having that rapport[…] is very important and it’s easier being a community member than a complete outside stranger, especially when you’re dealing with youth.”
“Having somebody in the community that people know and trust, you can’t underestimate that,” said Alinger.
Osborne also emphasized the logistic advantages of the satellite office.
The actual Sheriff’s Office is located on Warren Road in the Town of Lansing. The Newfield satellite office will be able to process complaints county residents would otherwise have to drive east for.
If a sheriff’s deputy were responding from Lansing to a call in Newfield, or anywhere in the western portion of Tompkins County for that matter, it could take upwards of half an hour to get to the scene of a call.
Osborne said that the move isn’t to “increase law enforcement presence per se, but to have stronger interactions with the community.”
The western portion of Tompkins County is not where the Sheriff’s Office gets most of its calls. During Thursday’s Tompkins County Legislature Public Safety Committee meeting, Osborne discussed the possibility of mapping calls that the Sheriff’s Office responds to across the county’s geography. He told the committee that most of the calls that the department responds to are concentrated in the areas of Lansing, Groton, and Dryden.
Osborne said that the Newfield satellite office will have minimal costs associated with it, since it’s going to occupy space in the Newfield Town Hall. The Sheriff’s Office also has a satellite office in the Town of Enfield.
There isn’t an exact date for when the Newfield office will open, but it is supposed to be sometime in the near future.
Correction (1/22/2022): This story originally read that the Newfield satellite office would be located in the Enfield Town Hall, rather than the Newfield Town Hall. The Public Safety Department does have another satellite office in the Enfield Town Hall.