MOUNT KISCO, N.Y. -- The Westchester County Department of Public Safety became Mount Kisco's primary local law enforcement agency on Monday when it took over the bulk of the village police force's duties.
Monday marked the start of an intermunicipal agreement (IMA) between Mount Kisco and Westchester, which runs until the end of the decade. The county projects that the deal will save Mount Kisco roughly $2.4 million.
The deal calls for the county to provide 25 dedicated police personnel to the village, with the police station becoming a county substation. Mount Kisco is obligated to make payments to the county for each year of the deal.
The switch was marked on Monday morning with a group swearing in of former Mount Kisco police personnel who switched to the county's department. The group oath was administered by Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino before a packed crowd at the village's courthouse.
In his speech, Astorino thanked the county and village officials who were instrumental in moving talks along with the consolidation, which ran for about three and a half years. The county executive also noted the efficiency of the merger.
“It brings into reality a very new and more cost-effective model for policing this wonderful and vibrant community.”
Mayor Michael Cindrich had similar praise for the deal.
“It’s a cutting-edge, progressive idea that will reduce the costs of policing in Mount Kisco without compromising any of the services.”
George Longworth, who is the county police department's commissioner, offered a welcome to his new colleagues and praised their service to the village.
“These officers have served the people of Mount Kisco with exemplary professionalism and skill.”
Longworth also noted that the same people will work in Mount Kisco, only now they will be wearing new uniforms.
County Legislator Peter Harckham, whose district includes Mount Kisco, thanked the various officials who helped with the deal.
“A lot of work went into this by a lot of people,” said Harckham, who is resigning his seat this week to take a state-level job.
Although county police are handling most local services, the IMA keeps the village's police department intact. Going forward, the local police force's purview, according to officials, will cover parking enforcement, court security and some patrols.
Joseph Spinelli will remain as village police chief, with Lt. Louis Terlizzi his only fellow policeman. Terlizzi, along with his wife, Kim, have been vocally opposed to the consolidation.
The county also took possession of five village police vehicles, according to Spinelli, who added that his department is keeping an additional five. Spinelli said he plans to help with the transition.
Mount Kisco's Village Board of Trustees will assess what else should be done with the local police department, Cindrich told Daily Voice. The mayor named patrolling in downtown when support is needed as an example. In addition, Cindrich added that the board could consider a slight increase in the staffing count.
Currently, the only other municipality in Westchester with a similar deal is the town of Cortlandt. The town of Ossining entered into a consolidation deal in 2011 but later switched to the village of Ossining for policing. County Legislator Catherine Borgia, who pushed for the initial deal when she was Ossining Town Supervisor, cited the lower bidding price and community ties between the municipalities as factors.
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