Of all the services that county government provides, one of the most important is public safety.
Our Sheriff Department is tasked with the job of fighting crime in a number of townships and hamlets throughout Sullivan County that is not covered by local police and constables. For those areas, as well as the rest of the county, the County Sheriff Road Patrol is important component of the County’s public safety system.
Today, with the downturn in the economy, the buildup of gangs, and increased use of drugs, the County has experienced a corresponding rash of burglaries that demands additional County resources to be devoted to public safety. My district, which has many second homes, has particularly experienced an uptick in home burglaries.
The adoption of the 2013 County Budget included a number of reductions in county expenditures. One of those cuts was a large reduction in the amount of overtime devoted to the Sheriff’s Patrol.
If the County is going to combat the rash of burglaries, additional resources need to be immediately devoted to solve these crimes.
Our law enforcement officials must have resources and manpower available to help fight this crime epidemic, which demands that we give Sheriff Mike Schiff the funding and flexibility to apply more dedicated manpower to both deter and resolve burglaries in our neighborhoods.
While we are facing budgetary constraints, as a taxpayer I feel the money the County spends on public safety is money well spent.
All other benefits of living in the County – friendships, family, our sense of community – can only occur if our security needs (security of body, health and property) are first met. We need to preserve our great quality of life here in Sullivan County.
Now is the time to restore resources to public safety so that our residents and visitors can enjoy all the benefits of Sullivan County.
If we lose the sense of safety and security in Sullivan County by failing to provide the necessary resources to public safety, all other efforts to improve our economy, tourism and quality of life will be for not.
I plan on voting to restore those cuts to the Sheriff’s overtime and urge my other fellow legislators to do so.