Council scuttles proposal to study merger of police with Sheriff's Office
Two months ago, members of the City Council were unanimous in their support of proceeding with a study of a potential merger between the city's police force and the Sheriff's Office.
Monday night, support for such a study dwindled to three, Adam Tabelski (who wasn't on the council in November), Brooks Hawley and John Canale.
Councilwoman Rose Mary Christian opened the discussion with her change of heart. Christian said she heard from at least 11 of her constituents who support keeping a city police force and she also spoke with officers about how police protection might decline following a merger.
"I want to keep our police department," Christian said. "Crime is going up and there's no doubt drugs are running rampant."
Christian, like several other council members, was also scared off the potential $80,000 to $100,000 cost of a merger feasibility study.
"I don't want a study," Christian said. "It's a waste of money."
Canale tried to argue that most of that expense would be covered by state grants and the city, county and Village of Le Roy, would likely share only 10 percent of that expense.
Canale said he thinks that small expense to the city is a good investment since it could lead to greater cost savings down the road.
Council President Eugene Jankowski pointed out that even if the bulk of the cost is covered by a grant, a grant is still taxpayer money.
For most of 2015, the city was moving toward a proposal to build a new police station, replacing the cramped and dilapidated building the police currently call home, with a police facilities task force making a recommendation for a new station on vacant property on Swan Street.
A new station could cost $10 million.
Once the council received the recommendation, there was board support for the proposal and calls not to "kick the can down the road" any further on the need to provide police with an appropriate and modern facility.
Then at a meeting in November, at least a half dozen members of the local Libertarian Party showed up at a council meeting and blasted the proposal, especially without first studying the idea of eliminating the police department and going to a countywide agency.
Unanimously, the council agreed to explore the idea and instructed a committee to open discussions with the county.
Christian and Kathy Briggs both said they heard after that meeting from their constituents that they didn't want to get rid of the police department.
"In the 5th Ward, when there's a problem, the police are there immediately," Briggs said. "I like that we have a quick police response and I don't want to lose it."
Christian said she feared calling the police only to be told by dispatchers that all of the officers are out on Creek Road dealing with a minor incident and it will take 15 minutes for a patrol to reach her house.
Jankowski pointed out that in a merged department, there are other communities in the county that feel they don't currently have enough police protection and some resources earmarked for the city could wind up in villages and towns.
While at the November meeting Jankowski, a former city police lieutenant, went along with the city request, he also argued for many of the benefits of a local police department and noted many of the cost savings already taking place through multiple shared services.
Monday, he recalled that the last time there was going to be "just a study" of merged services, the city wound up losing its own emergency dispatchers.
The council will take up the issue of a new police facility and how to move forward at its next conference meeting in February.
Gee and people still claim that elections don't influence politicians positions. That November meeting was pandering to the vocal minority. I like how this also outlines the new "lines" on the city council as well. Despite the comments that the votes will not split along the Jason 5 vs the rest of council lines. It seems this vote is a sign of things to come. Where it'll be Canale and Hawley vs the rest, with Tabelski going with the direction that the political winds blow...
Well back to where we were back in October,...
One of the positive aspects of living in Batavia, is that I see my police force paroling my neighborhood. They are a visible presence. That matters to me as well as the criminal element.
If I'm not mistaken the majority of our officers reside in our city. I like that too.
I personally don't mind forking over a bit more in tax dollars for our own city Police department. But I'm odd like that I wanted to retain our EMTs & Dispatchers.
Thank you to those that voted against writing a check for this study.
Lastly, why is it that these studies always cost so much ? Are they printed out on gold trimmed parchment ? Anyone have a tally of how many studies the City of Batavia has paid for, and actually used ?
How does one break into this business of conducting a study, because I certainly could use a paycheck like that.
rose mary talked to 11 constituents and police officers. interesting to say the least.
well rose mary I guess the majority made this easy for you.
does anyone really think that a police officer or anyone for that matter would think it's a good idea to do away with their job.
Rose mary to patrolman, sir do you think crime will rise if your job is merged with another department? Patrolman to rose mary, mame I am sworn to tell the truth, what was the question again? sir you may lose your job if there is a merger, do you think that is a good idea? no mame crime will go up.
"Councilwoman Rose Mary Christian opened the discussion with her change of heart. Christian said she heard from at least 11 of her constituents who support keeping a city police force and she also spoke with officers about how police protection might decline following a merger"
Yet a vocal guy like me has never had a conversation with her. I am in her Ward. Haven't even seen her campaigning.
a new station could cost 10 million dollars......... where did that come from?..... it cost Niagara Falls taxpayers 45 million dollars to build a train station. WHO said it'll cost 10 million?
David, that's been amply covered in prior coverage. If you click the "Police Facility" tag under the headline, it's all there.
hey thanks Howard. after reading the Batavian articles on the new police station, I could not find a quote from anyone on the cost of 10 million dollars. I have to believe that dollar figure is pure fiction. Will anyone (elected officials) (task force) reply to this post and tell me where the figure of 10 million dollars comes from?
In my humble opinion we here in This Great City Of Batavia need the Police Department!
Just look what they have done to “Protect And Serve” our City!
You Can Agree to Dis-Agree but would it be not better to Support Them?
David, the figure is in the Task Force Study. That study had the estimated costs for all the sites reviewed, on spreadsheets. The whole thing was presented a few times at public meetings.
I stand corrected, the initial cost of the Niagara Falls train station is 35 million dollars. The price tag of 45 million dollars was for a courthouse/police station erected around 7/8 years ago.
thanks John. the task force was put together to study location location location. now if they received an estimate on the cost of a new police station while they were trying to figure out where to put one, that is great. I'm trying to find out who gave that estimate. I read articles that say 10 mil. some say 10-12 mil. one even said up to 14 mil.
Somebody please reply and let me know where the figure of 10 million dollars came from.?
The estimates came from the engineering firm that did the information gathering for the task force.
The estimates, which came from the consultants, was covered in prior articles. It's all there.
Quote from one of the above comments - "Yet a vocal guy like me has never had a conversation with her. I am in her Ward. Haven't even seen her campaigning."
... If the mountain won't come to you then go to the mountain, Mr. O'Brien.
Links to contact our city government -
Links to our city council members AND there contact info -
Lastly, 2016 dates of all upcoming City Council Meetings which are held at City Hall on Main St right here in Batavia -
If you don't like how your city government is run then start by attending a meeting. I don't always agree with Mr. Roach's views but I give him extreme credit because he along with a very limited number of Batavians attend council meetings faithfully.
I attended and spoke at a meeting. My concerns were met with no comments from the council.
I will vote with my feet later this spring.
Just a note. We're a City, not a town or village, therefore we have a responsibility to provide a certain level of services. The main three are Police, Fire and DPW. Genesee county already provides millions of dollars worth of shared services free of charge to the City in the form of housing city prisoners in the Jail, court security and transport, probation, civil, dispatch and booking services, to name just a few. The City Police handle approximately 1/2 of all the calls for service in the County and the county relies on the City to cover that cost. If the County were to take on the City Police responsibilities free of charge it would most certainly raise the county tax rate and everyone in the county would be paying for the City Police coverage. Give Council a chance to take a hard look at the building costs and maybe we can all work together to find some middle ground. A reasonably priced building funded by grants to minimize the tax burden and still give our Police the tools they need to provide the protection we all deserve. It's unfortunate, but on occasion every city incurs major expenses. We'll need a new ladder truck for the Fire department soon. Does that mean we should get rid of the Fire Department because trucks are expensive?
See ya Peter
"I attended and spoke at a meeting. My concerns were met with no comments from the council." ... well Mr. O'Brien, you made it sound like you have never had any contact with your councilwoman. Unless Rosemary, was elected before you addressed City Council.
She's been on council for at least a few years if not longer.
Enjoy your trip this Spring, let us know if the grass is indeed greener.
"Enjoy your trip this Spring, let us know if the grass is indeed greener."
It must be with the continued emigration of NY residents fleeing for other States.
I will be greener, I won't have city steal back my tax savings when they eliminate a service.
I won't be lied to when I am told my street is going to have parking on both sides and instead I get bike lanes.
I won't have to ensure my electrician paid the city their shakedown money to operate there.
I'll be able to have a compost pile.
I won't have to drive 30 miles one way.
I won't have slobs littering my yard as they walk by.
I won't have to live across the street from a business selling the newest soon to be illegal drug.
Aside from friends, the only thing I will miss about this city is the Muckdogs.