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DeWitt: Teen drinking addressed

Serving minors is illegal. That's the message DeWitt Police Chief Eugene Conway sent to more than 100 establishments in town that serve alcohol both on and offsite. Door decals and counter stands were delivered to these businesses as part of a recent underage drinking initiative. Conway informed the new police commission of this effort at its first monthly meeting of the year held Jan. 17.

A comprehensive department overview and a summary of roles and responsibilities was also presented to aid the six new members of the commission who joined the team for 2008.

The DeWitt Police Department, a New York state accredited agency, is the busiest and largest agency in Onondaga County next to the Syracuse Police Department, Conway said. It employs 38 full-time sworn officers and five as support staff. In 2006, it responded to more than 19,000 service calls. The 2007 results will be complete by the next meeting in February.

While Conway manages the department's day to day operations, the police commission looks at various policies and procedures within the department, focusing on broader policy issues such as officers using Taser guns and similar matters.

The DeWitt Town Board appointed two new commissioners to include town councilors Vicki Baker and Irene Scruton as voting members. Baker was elected for the town board this past November and served 12 years on the county legislature. Scruton is in her sixth year on the town board, is the president of the Central and Western New York Chapter of the National Safety Council and served as police commissioner ex officio for one year.

New ex officio members include Joe Mehlek, a retired major from the Sheriff's Department; John Duncan, prosecutor for the U.S. Attorney's Office; retired Supreme Court Justice Parker Stone and Practicing Defense Attorney Bonnie Levy.

Retired DeWitt Police officer Larry Rice, former U.S. Attorney Daniel French, and Investigator Armand Scipione of the U.S. Attorney's Office comprise the rest of the ex officio members.

Ken Andrews returns for his eighth year as chairman of the commission, along with Conway as secretary and Greg Scicchitano as attorney.

Town Councilor Joe Simonetta and Recreation Commission Chairman Dr. Vincent Sportelli no longer serve on the committee.

The commission meets at 8:30 a.m. the second Thursday of the month at the DeWitt Town Hall, room B.

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