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police & fire

Mount Kisco Residents Get County Police Merger Overview

Jeffrey Weiss, a sergeant with the Westchester County Department of Public Safety, gives a presentation about the proposed consolidation with Mount Kisco police. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie
A large crowd turned out for the police consolidation meeting at Mount Kisco Village Hall. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie

MOUNT KISCO, N.Y. -- The proposed consolidation of Mount Kisco’s police force with Westchester County’s was discussed in detail for the public at a Monday meeting.

The presentation, given by county police Sgt. Jeffrey Weiss, included data and the reasons for a merger.

The consolidation would come due to a contract between the village and the county, which would require a level of policing services dedicated to Mount Kisco. Current village police would join the county police and keep their current titles and civil statuses. The Mount Kisco Police Department has 28 members but lacks a permanent chief.

Mount Kisco’s police station would continue to be used by county police, including as a base for officers on patrol and for detectives. Members of the public would also be able to visit county police at the village station and the local non-emergency police number may be kept by the county.

In the presentation, several problems with small police departments were cited. They include manpower shortages, injuries leading to prolonged absences and vacancies leading to backfill overtime and undesired patrol staffing. The manpower gap is also blamed for burn out of police. Also cited as issues were under utilization of supervisory resources, personnel cost and the fact that only one person is responsible for dispatching officers and taking calls.

The presentation, which included a overview of Mount Kisco’s typical staffing at a given time, notes that there are two to three police officers working and in patrol cars, along with zero to one sergeant (supervisor) working. The sergeant, according to the presentation, usually is involved with dispatch and desk duty. Additionally, Mount Kisco has several times where there is no patrol supervision.

Mount Kisco’s current staffing for investigative work includes three detectives, a single sergeant supervising and one administrative lieutenant, according to the presentation. In contrast, the county police proposal includes more manpower: three police officers on patrol during days and evenings – two would work at midnights – and a supervisor available for working in the field all the time.

Other availability includes a back-up for supervision, a lieutenant for second-line supervision and support from someone of higher rank, such as a captain, on call or on duty. Also included is central dispatch and call taking, with multiple operators available. The central model is already used for fire and EMS, according to the presentation.

The proposal is estimated to result in a savings of $2,438,478 over a five-year period. For that duration, the estimated cost of continued maintenance of a village police department is $35,368,187, versus an estimated $32,929,709 for a 5-year contract.

Mount Kisco would become the third municipality in the county to have a contracted deal, with the Town of Cortlandt and the Town of Ossining being the other two.

The proposal includes a transition period, where Mount Kisco police officers continue local patrols.

Current county police officers would get training locally to build their familiarity. Eventually, there would be a mix of former village officers and current county officers.

Coming tomorrow: Reaction to the proposed merger

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