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Voters could decide fate of East Syracuse Police Department this spring

The East Syracuse police department, on N. Center Street, could be abolished by summer 2012. There are three options before the village for the police department: keep it, abolish it or enter into a shared contract with the town of DeWitt.

The East Syracuse police department, on N. Center Street, could be abolished by summer 2012. There are three options before the village for the police department: keep it, abolish it or enter into a shared contract with the town of DeWitt. Photo by Amanda Seef.

— The village could decide to abolish the department and force the dissolution on residents, but that has not proven fruitful in other municipalities.

“Whenever a leader has forced this on the people, it has failed,” Liedka said.

Police Chief Don Morris, who has faced consolidation in Solvay and Liverpool while working in each of those departments, hopes the village decides to keep his department.

“For the residents, we’re a dedicated police force for the village,” Chief Morris said. “We’re not responsible for calls outside of our jurisdiction and with the town [of DeWitt Police Department], they are responsible to provide coverage for the entire town.”

One of the ideas on the table could be entering into a shared services agreement with the town of DeWitt. Should that occur, officers in East Syracuse would likely be added to the DeWitt police payroll. The town of DeWitt has not decided if that would be feasible, however, as they go into arbitration with their own police union.

“I believe the residents of the village appreciate the job the officers do on the daily day-to-day functions. We provide a litany of different functions. We’re out there with the public. If it was to go to the village residents, I’m sure they would voice their opinion, regardless."

— Chief Don Morris

“That would be one of the challenges for the town if they took over the policing in the village,” Morris said. “I don’t know if they can actually accomplish that, because if there were calls outside of the village that would require police presence, I don’t believe they’d be able to keep that car in the village and justify the police presence.”

Whatever happens to the police department, Liedka hopes to keep the six full-time officers, administrative employee, police chief and seven part-time officers employed.

“If people want their police department, they have to vote on it and understand the impact [on taxes],” Liedka said.

Public hearings and board meetings will be held prior to a referendum, should that occur.

“I believe the residents of the village appreciate the job the officers do on the daily day-to-day functions,” Morris said. “We provide a litany of different functions. We’re out there with the public. If it was to go to the village residents, I’m sure they would voice their opinion, regardless."

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