Pulaski to decide on whether to dissolve police department

Dec 26, 2012

Residents in Pulaski will vote in March to keep or abolish the Pulaski Police Department, but some are worried resources will be stretched too thin.

Pulaski Mayor Karl Hax says he will find a way to keep the police department open if taxpayers vote for it.  But if that happens, Hax believes dissolving the police department will still happen someday, because it is taking up a larger and larger portion of the budget each year.  It currently operates on two hundred thousand dollars annually.

If the village's police department is eliminated, 911 calls would be dispatched to the Oswego County Sheriff's Department and the New York State Police Department. Some residents, like Sabrina Hefti, are concerned about a longer response time.

“Like, I have three kids.  I think it’s important that we have immediate response.  I can’t imagine having to wait a half an hour, 45 minutes, to an hour maybe if they’re busy somewhere else," said Hefti.

Pulaski Police Chief Ellery Terpening  is also worried state troopers and sheriff’s deputies might not always be readily available. 

“The safety of not only the people that are doing those jobs but also the residents and the people that travel through here is a problem and is going to be a problem,” said Terpening.

Terpening and nine part-time officers would lose their jobs if the vote goes through. 

Closing down the police headquarters also means the Oswego County Sheriff's Department won't be able to use it as a substation.  If someone is arrested in the northern part of the county, officers would have to travel an additional fifty minutes to either Oswego or Central Square for booking.  That's time, Terpening says, that they won't be able to spend answering calls.   

“If you don’t have anybody available, who’s going to come and when are they going to get here?”

A public hearing is scheduled for February.  A similar plan was proposed in East Syracuse to end their police force.  That plan was rejected by voters in October.