Spafford passes law hiring town constable

The Spafford Town Board held a public hearing and voted to pass a local law to use the services of a town constable at its March 13 meeting.

The text of the law includes: “The purpose of this local law is to establish the town of Spafford as a constabulary and to create the office of town constable as authorized by section 2.10 of the Criminal Procedure Law of the State of New York and section 20, Subdivision 1 of the town law of the State of New York, to perform such duties at the direction of the Supervisor, Town Board and/or Town Justice for the Justice Court of the town of Spafford as allowed by the laws of the State of New York.”

The law gives the constable the authority to issue tickets, make arrests, confiscate firearms, use deadly force and serve subpoenas when those activities are pursuant of the position’s special duties. The constable does not have the authority to execute a search warrant or arrest warrant.

A line item of $1,500 has been added to the budget to cover the expense. The money was allocated from the town’s contingency fund, Supervisor Mary Bean said.

The board had previously approved a one-time use of Tom Adessa for security at a meeting. Adessa charges $18 an hour and works as constable for several other local towns including Skaneateles, though Spafford did not officially appoint him, so it is open to bring in other constables as needed, Bean said.

Councilor Dave Venezia voted against the law, not because he disagreed its purpose, but because he had requested an additional 30 days to add new language to the document to make a more clearly defined process for when the constable would be brought in. Venezia said he is concerned with public safety, but also wants to be careful anytime a decision is made to spend money.

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