Solvay-Geddes police consolidation situation: Part one

In early September, the state Division of Criminal Justice Services submitted their final consolidation study of the Geddes and Solvay police departments to town and village officials.

The study, conducted at the request of the municipalities, was a compilation of statistics to serve as a foundation for the discussion of consolidation of the two police departments. Though the study states explicitly that it is not meant to be a recommendation for or against consolidation, it does provide suggestions for how to proceed with the process of consolidation.

The study provides four options, including mutual aid agreement, functional consolidation, contract law enforcement, and full consolidation. The report recommends both departments consider enacting an official mutual aid agreement, in which the town and village departments would act as primary backup for each other, regardless of whether further consolidation occurs.

Functional consolidation, as suggested by the study, would consolidate shared services such as records, dispatching, and criminal investigations between the two otherwise separate departments.

Solvay police Chief Rick Cox said that these steps are already being taken between the two departments, in one way or another.

A contractual agreement between the municipalities would provide one or the other with full or part-time law enforcement via one agency. The fourth option, as laid out by the DCJS study, would be for the creation of a new police agency, or the consolidation of law enforcement agencies between the town and village. The study stated the "circumstances surrounding the town and village appear to be conducive to consolidation," and provided arguments for and against the merging of agencies.

Among them, there was mention of cost savings on both sides, stating that an "overall long-term savings" could be achieved through unified staff functions, but that "there may be an initial increase in the cost of establishing a consolidated agency."

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