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County to Study Merger with Mt. Kisco Police Department

Consolidation, along with greater shared services, are among hypothetical scenarios to be looked at. Cost savings cited as a reason by mayor.

Mount Kisco has consented to an offer by Westchester County to study several scenarios for it to provide greater police services, among which would include full consolidation.

Mayor Michael Cindrich explained that the village was approached late last summer about doing a study. Village Manager James Palmer gave a written letter of consent to the county in early December on behalf of the Village Board of Trustees.

Cindrich believes that when given the chance to study possible cost savings, the opportunity should be taken.

“It was my opinion that we should look into this only for the reason that it would be irresponsible if somebody makes us an offer where they may provide us with services that would have to be equal or better to the services we have, at a cost benefit to the taxpayers.”

The study would also explore the cost benefits of Mount Kisco keeping its police department but having county police provide more services locally. Currently, Westchester County police give services that include criminal investigation, narcotics investigation, aviation, some traffic detail and mutual aid.

The study will look at a series of measures, including how each of the scenarios would impact response times, quality of services and availability of police to provide specialized detail. It would also look at changes in parking and traffic enforcement, crime prevention and having a liasion with community groups, according to Cindrich.

If the consolidation scenario were to take place, the county police would not provide a floating cohort of officers that causually stops by. Rather, county officers would be operating in Mount Kisco.

“If they were going to provide services, they wouldn’t just be doing a drive through," Cindrich said. "They’d be actually stationed here and their first responsibility would be the village.”

Recently, rumors have surfaced in the community that a county merger will  occur, which is not the case.

Mount Kisco Police Chief Steven Anderson, who has been informed about the study plans, declined to comment. Kieran O'Leary, spokesman for the county police, acknowledged meetings with the county and local police but declined to comment further, referring questions to Cindrich and Palmer.

Maintaining a village police department is a major expense for Mount Kisco, the factor that is driving the interest in having a study done. In total, Cindrich said that it costs in excess of $6 million to have a police department. In contrast, several of Mount Kisco's neighbors to the north have part-time police departments and rely on supplemental support from state troopers.

Cindrich noted some of the possible benefits of a county merger, including more room for career advancement for police officers, and the fact that the scale of a larger department can help lessen the problem of overtime for absent personnel.

Law enforcement from the county level in absence of municipal police is not without precedent in this region. Last year, the Town of Ossining its police department with the county's through a 4-year, $2.3 million contract. Cortlandt also relies on the county police. In Putnam County, some towns do not have police departments, instead relying on the county sheriff.

In recent years, other municipalities have mulled disbanding their police departments and consolidation with the county, including Pleasantville and Sleepy Hollow, according to various media reports.

No timeline has been set for the study. Whether or not the village trustees accept any of the scenarios depends on both cost and whether an equal or greater level of service can be provided by the county, explained Cindrich.

If the village board takes interest in the findings, the matter would be discussed in a public forum, Cindrich explained. Additionally, input will be taken from Mount Kisco police.

Justin Pieragostini January 06, 2012 at 02:43 PM
Looking in from the outside.... the merger seems beneficial to all involved- both taxpayers & residents- would be interested to hear the opinions of our officers and police employees! Either way- we are lucky to have such a great department protecting us!! - My appreciation!
Mike A January 06, 2012 at 02:54 PM
you know the old saying "IF IT ISN'T BROKE DON'T FIX IT" instead of replacing the police dept. let's get rid of Cindrich and the rest of his cronies! That would be the best move for Mt.Kisco and if we have to change to county pd lets do it right after memmanarick does it!!!oh yea thats where Cindrich is a cop!!!!!!
Concerned August 22, 2012 at 02:17 AM
A merger like the one that was done in Ossining would be extremely beneficial to both the officers themselves and the community they serve. The Mt Kisco PBA members have always been lower paid yet only asked for an AVERAGE pay raise. The Mt Kisco PBA was forced into arbitration due to a severely dysfunctional relationship with the village. The Mt Kisco Police received the worst written arbitration awards in the history of Perb. The award is not even close to what other police departments have received in Westchester and the rest of NY! How is this good for anyone? Police risk their lives, are exposed to the risk of illness/injury as well as a tremendous amount of liability! Why are they going to stay in a police dept that is grossly underpaid in comparison to comparable communities? How is Mt Kisco going to attract the best and brightest? What is the solution? Mt Kisco needs to give their Officers a fair contract that is competitive with other agencies and offer them their full support. Another solution would be merging the Mt Kisco cops into the Westchester Police Dept. The Officers would receive better training, better equipment, better promotional and advancement opportunities. The dedicated members of the Mt Kisco Police Dept would then be able to better serve thier community.That would be greatly benefit the taxpayers with or without monetary cost savings
Patric Kilkenny October 25, 2013 at 08:40 AM
My name is Patric Kilkenny and I am running as a write-in candidate for Mayor of Mount Kisco. The Office of the Mayor should be held by an individual who can actually bring solutions that will change the village for the better. This village needs a drastic new approach before it’s too late. If we do things the way that they’ve always been done, then things will remain the way that they always have been – logical, no? And that, at this point, means a continued decline not only in the quality of our lives, but the safety of our lives. The current Village Board [all Democrats] are trying to eliminate, disband, reorganize, use whatever phrase you want; the substitution of the Mount Kisco Police Department with the Westchester County Department of Public Safety. Our police department has existed since 1877, when Ulysses S. Grant was President of the United States; and they have not only protected us, but they have integrated themselves as a vital part of our community. That’s right community – we are not New York City or Yonkers or another large municipality in which police officers are strangers – here, we know them, we say hello to them – we like them. This reorganization has gone on around the county for years, Putnam, Ossining and other communities have adopted this format and their citizens have not been satisfied and their crime statistics have risen. If you will elect me as your public servant, I will serve this village and the needs of its people. Those needs will change over time, but right now, as of today; the top priority is keeping our police force alive, well and in this Village. We can all work together on different issues which are important to each one of us; education and knowledge are the most precious and valuable resources a person can have. We have one of the lowest paid departments in Westchester County and have forced upon our police an Arbitration Agreement which is unfair. The Village can spend money on new tennis court floors [$55,000.00], but cannot give uniform allowances to our officers. This is exactly what the mentality of the current Village Board is; more and more and more spending of taxpayer money. Now the Village Board of Mount Kisco wants to spend $600,000.00 to buy more property. The Village is not, and should not be in the business of becoming the largest landowner in Mount Kisco and the exponential result of becoming the largest landlord of more properties; buying property when we can’t even pay our police officers a decent wage is horrific. The Village should be divesting itself of property and selling off all of its interests in land and real estate, not buying more buildings and other assets which the Village does not need, nor do its residents want. How much more money are we going to spend this year buying property? We cannot afford to increase the size of our police department, that now has only limited patrols in the evening and not enough patrols to even conduct necessary police functions during the day; the Village hasn’t promoted anyone to police in chief in almost two years; it is time for the residents to say enough is enough! Vote for Patric Kilkenny, a Republican, as a write-in candidate on November 5, 2013 and help to create a Mount Kisco Board that has its priorities straight.
elizabeth mclaughlin November 03, 2013 at 09:22 PM
I agree with Patrick. As a resident of Mt. Kisco for over thirty years I should know. And, also been through the ringer by the State of New York and Cuomo. People better wake up fast. The police department will become temps soon without benefits. All due to UN Agenda 21 and World Bank debt. All these grants and funds that people deem as free money. It is not free. As far as the land grabbing, it is happening everywhere. Also under conservation, environmental not for profits. Is the land depreciated? And who picks up the slack? The homeowners? These groups also stop businesses from doing business so you do not have any jobs to pay your taxes. Republicans and Democrats are one in the same. They even use the same legal firm to handle its personal contributions. Do not be fooled. Check out my blog, non commercial, for educational purposes, http://moneymagnetelizabeth.wordpress.com/2013/10/31/cuomo-is-the-eye-of-the-storm/ <iframe width="420" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/xs8q1dvh-rE" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> http://moneymagnetelizabeth.wordpress.com/2013/10/29/cuomo-politics-and-water/

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