Burglaries & Public Safety Spending Cuts: Cutting off our noses to spite our faces!

Writer’s Workshop of Sullivan County


“Stimulating meaningful thought & debate in Sullivan County without retribution”


Criminal Acts: Cutting government spending in the wrong places

County legislative cutbacks in public safety result in reduced staffing to fight burglary epidemic


by Adam X. Smith

“Now when we come home at the end of the day we hold our breath as we put our key in the door, hoping that our home and possessions are still there.”


I wholeheartedly agree with the assessment of Sam Jones in his article regarding that we need to bring government spending under control. 


Moreover, we need to target where funds are spent.


Subsidizing welfare in our area begets us nothing than more welfare recipients moving here to benefit from our largese.


While limited funds are wasted on programs that bring zero economic development to our area, programs such as public safety are want to suffer.


Case in point: The recent pronouncements of a member of our County Legislature (Cora Edwards) limiting the amount of funds available to pay police protection at a large public venue such as Bethel Woods.


In support of Mr. Jones’ article, and in rebuttal to Legislator Edwards I would offer the following.


I live in the Town of Liberty, am I to live in fear.


For years we have never have had to lock our doors.  Now when we come home at the end of the day we hold our breath as we put our key in the door, hoping that our home and possessions are still there.


I can only imagine what it would feel like to have family heirlooms, items of sentimental value and years of memories wiped out in a few hours.


There is no doubt in my mind that cuts to the Sheriff’s Patrol have allowed crime to increase.


Sheriff Mike Schiff has had to make do with 25% less personnel over the last few years, and now less overtime for the remaining Officers.


I was irate when I heard County Legislator Cora Edwards, the Chair of the Public Safety Committee; cavalierly discuss cuts to the Sheriff’s Office.  She said: “One of the things that we decided to do was to cut over time by a $100,000 for road patrol that spends over time at Bethel Woods because that’s where we don’t think the burglaries and the violent crimes are taking place”.


Aside from burglaries in the County, which are becoming epidemic, does the Legislator (Edwards) not recognize the target value to terrorists in such a venue as Bethel Woods.


Thousands of people gather there each weekend to be entertained and listen to music.


Does Legislator Edwards not think enterprising terrorists could consider this gathering as a soft target?  This is not so far off the mark when just a few weeks past who would ever consider the Boston Marathon would be ruthlessly bombed.


Are we to believe that having fewer Deputies at Bethel Woods performing a valuable task of keeping our roads open, and having the ability to deter a terrorist attack, and take immediate action if one occurred is not in the best interests of County?


As a taxpayer I am also concerned about public spending, but in this instance of having less law enforcement personnel on patrol I see nothing but “being pennywise and pound foolish”.


Cora is literally cutting off our noses to spite our faces!


How did Cora develop this antediluvian attitude toward police deployment?  I wonder if this cut of overtime was discussed with the Sheriff’s office, or with any individual having a basic knowledge of police manpower.  Does Cora have a degree in Criminal Justice?


Regretfully we live in a changing society, one where violent crime and drug use are on the rise. We see innocent persons being bombed, killed and maimed. Sullivan County homes and businesses are being broken into, and stolen from.


Unfortunately our State police have seen a diminution of patrol officers in the Sullivan County area. Our Sheriff’s Office is our front line of defense if we hope to continue to live in peace within this County.


Residents of Sullivan County get basically two benefits from the taxes we pay. The County roads are maintained, and we have the Sheriff’s Patrol.


Without the proper level of police protection, who will want to live here?


With all respect, I offer, let professional police, such as Sheriff Schiff and his staff, decide what the proper deployment of police is, and let rank criminal justice amateurs such as Legislator Edwards stick to the roads.



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Bazzo 05/01/13
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