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East Syracuse voting on future of police department

The village of East Syracuse is deciding this evening whether it can afford to continue staffing a fulltime police force.

In October 2012, residents of the village voted down the idea of dissolving its police force and merging it with that of neighboring DeWitt. But since that vote, taxes for residents have shot up 22 percent and the town board again approved the measure this spring.

For Janini Puliatti, having more eyes watching over the village is worth the expense.

"I’m not worried about the money," she said after voting earlier this afternoon. "I’m worried about protection and the people that live in this village, especially the youngsters. Sometimes it gets a little out of hand and we need a little extra protection."

But Dale Pepe said he can't afford to keeping having his taxes go up so drastically. This was his second time voting against the merger. There will still be plenty of police officers close by, he said.

"The town of DeWitt is all around us anyway. The cops are right here anyway," Pepe said. "So I really don’t see the point."

The village currently has four full-time police officers, a chief, and some part-time officers. It would pay DeWitt $375,000 a year to protect within its borders. DeWitt would staff one patrol car in the village 24 hours a day.

Voting goes until 9 p.m. tonight on the village offices.