Mount Kisco Residents Get County Police Merger Overview

  • Comments (19)
Jeffrey Weiss, a sergeant with the Westchester County Department of Public Safety, gives a presentation about the proposed consolidation with Mount Kisco police.
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.
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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Comments (19)

As a retired police officer in a small westchester town I can tell you all without a doubt that there is no way the county will provide the residents with the level of service they are accustomed to receiving at this time. The County itself is under budget constraints every year and I guarantee the WCDPS will redistribute their manpower where they see fit and Mt Kisco will suffer. Secondly please do a cost analysis of how much the dept costs against what each parcel of real property pays in taxes for that costs. I think you will find it a very low number that most homeowners and residents would be willing to pay for the exceptional service the pd now provides them. Remember that a vast majority of your tax hill is school taxes followed by COUNTY taxes. Your local taxes are a very small part of it and the cost analysis of the PD should prove that.

What is the length of the contract between Mt Kisco and the County? The supervisory position that theCounty talks about is more the likely one of the two Sergeants that work the midnight shift anyway and are responsible for the entire county. I sincerely doubt they are going to dedicate a supervisor to Mt Kisco every midnight shift. What happens when the contract expires? I would have to believe that when the contract is up the County will re distribute the manpower as they see fit and according to their budget at the time.

I’m not sure DB’s continuing allusion to my write-in candidacy in 2013 is persuasive as to the matter at hand, i.e., the merger of police services. The representatives of government are routinely exiled from office in election years, which we will see in November. However, if my candidacy is as relevant as DB wants to make it; well then, why not put the vote for the merger on the ballot in 2015 when three of the Board members are scheduled for reelection should they decide to run; and there will be three opponents on the ballot this time. That will give the residents of Mount Kisco, in an off-year election, to vote for both a new Board and the opportunity to vote up or down on the merger. Also, there is no taxpayer money involved to put a ballot measure on when there is a scheduled election; it is impossible at this late date to have a ballot referendum – which I think is why this matter has reared its head so late. Adding a referendum is an uncomplicated task to accomplish under the New York State election law, provided it is done with appropriate time. There will be no way to prevent the current Board of Trustees passing the IMA for this merger other than going to court and submitting an Order to Show Cause; and THAT will cost the taxpayer’s money.

To hold a full ballot where one is not mandated would be a blatant waste of taxpayer money and time, especially when the right choice is so clear. Mount Kisco has 10,877 documented residents. Of them, 4,928 are registered voters (43.1% Dem, 22.5% Rep, 27.8% non-partisan). Of those 4,928 people, only 1,325 bothered to vote in the 2013 General Election, one which featured a Mayoral election. Incumbent Mayor Cindrich walked away with that race, 1264 – 35, over challenger Patric Kilkenny. (26 votes were deemed “irregular”) Source: http://citizenparticipation.westchestergov.com/images/stories/pdfs/2013CanvassGeneral131105.pdf

This 97.3% landslide victory is clearly indicative of the confidence the supermajority of voters have in Mayor Cindrich and his judgment. The Village deserves the benefits of this consolidation. Let’s not be distracted or misled by those with obvious ulterior motives.

Clearly you are of the mindset that Government knows best! FINALLY you answered my question...you do NOT believe that the residents be involved this decision because you decided not enough people vote! Are you aware that on a national level only 1 in 4 Americans of voting age are registered to vote? I guess based on those statistics we should have NO say on what goes on in our country either! The people that are registered are the informed portion of our population and genuinely care about things they are voting on. So nice that you totally discount that!
I'm very curious as to whom has ulterior motives and what they could possibly be? Asking that the residents be able to make this monumental decision affecting our town means that something nefarious is going on? PUT IT TO A VOTE!

The writers may well be correct in their assessment of the meeting on Monday evening; I happen to disagree. I will not attempt to focus on each of the arguments posed. However, if this is such a great "win-win," "stroke of a pen” deal, then why not, as most of the residents in attendance voiced, have a referendum? Yes, there is no local law or County law that requires a referendum and at least in my determination, since this "study" has been on-going for several years, why is it so urgent to approve this merger now – is the WCDPS going to disappear? Of course not; and a word to the wise, if this merger goes through without the referendum and passes, what happens next time this Village Board decides to pass some other issue to which “you writers” disagree, will you press for a referendum? That may be something to think about. As to my friend …bob, I would totally agree with Mr. Spock’s opinion if Mr. Spock lived in Mt. Kisco and the correct quote is the “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.” I am not saying I am against this merger, but I want to see the entire proposal before I give my assent; and why is the proposal not available to residents. The study is complete; I have a copy of the Ossining Proposal, which gives the entire financial record. I have my suspicions, but I will leave that for another day.

change is always difficult, but change it what is definitely needed with this County and Kisco partnership to improve the safety and quality of life for the vast majority of Kisco police officers and residents. I did attend the meeting and the only recurring opposition themes I heard were (1) concern over the quality and personal touch of a local police force being lost -which was directly answered with the fact that the same officers the residents feel so close to will continue to be on the job and available in the village so not a lose a win-win and (2) was not a concern at all over the partnership just whining complaint to make residents vote - my guess is that those individuals who wanted a vote are those who have something personal to lose. Time to move out of your comfort zone - this is a win - win - win for the majority of police officers - win for the vast majority if not all residents and win for county - As Spock once said, "The needs of the many outweigh the wants of the few or one."

If you are going to quote a fictional character at least get the quote right. It's " The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one." Not the wants.

The below writer (a former unsuccessful write-in candidate for the office of Mayor of Mt. Kisco) refers to "overwhelming opposition" to the merger, however the standing room only crowd that I saw in the board room was overwhelmingly in support of the plan, as indicated by the thunderous applause at each positive remark. Yes, there were several residents voicing concern for various reasons, and their concerns were either answered or noted for discussion. Agan, this proposal saves money and gives the residents the top notch police services they want and deserve.

The thunderous applause and overwhelming support in the crowd was ONLY from the police officers. 26 out of the 28 that are on the force are NOT RESIDENTS! So their support counts for nothing in this decision! This is a decision that is for the residents to make. Nearly all RESIDENTS that stood up and spoke urged the NEED for this to be voted on by the RESIDENTS. That is a far louder cry than thunderous applause! I suspect you are not even a resident...perhaps even of of the non-resident police officers! If this is such a GREAT DEAL the residents will see that? What are you afraid of? Why do you refuse to answer my one simple question...Should the residents make this decision? PUT IT TO A VOTE!

To say that the 26 members of the police department who don't live in the town shouldn't have a say whether or not this consolidation plan should be implemented is completely illogical. The police officers in the community are exactly who people should want to hear from. They are the professionals who understand the intricacies of modern policing and are on the streets of Mt Kisco everyday putting themselves in harms way for the benefit of the community. The county police also are professionals that are very qualified to assess the law enforcement needs of the community. The police are the best qualified to assess if this consolidation will make us safer. The county proposed that they will provide more officers for less money. Four officers (three patrol officers and one supervisor) patrolling the streets of Mt Kisco at all times. That means that if county officers in Mt Kisco are busy processing arrests, then officers from other posts in the county will be diverted to Mt Kisco so they can take over patrolling the streets. That is extremely valuable to the community. Mt Kisco, presently has two officers patrolling the streets, but if they are both stuck on a call or busy on an arrest, then there is no one on the streets, unless others are called in for overtime. That is not effective policing and can be very cost prohibitive. People in Mt Kisco are concerned about the quality of life issues, increased crime, and traffic congestion. Nobody wants their taxes going up too high. Having more officers on the road, at all times, at a substantial cost saving is fantastic. If the Mt Kisco police are enthusiastically supporting this consolidation then we can be sure that it is a great move. Of course the vast majority of the Mt Kisco Police support this consolidation effort. They are in tuned with the community. They are out there listening to the concerns of all the residents from every socioeconomic background. Their voices should be heard and not censored by any persons with self serving agendas. This consolidation needs to be implemented in a timely fashion. It is not a controversial move at all. Its not an abolishment of a police department. It's adding valuable services to a community that needs it. It is an action that will allow the present Mt Kisco police officers to be better able to serve their community much more efficiently with far better career advancement possibilities at a substantial savings to the taxpayers.

Do not fool yourself. The County has wanted complete control of the police forces in the county for decades and will tell the residents anything they want to hear to complete the deal. They have finite resources just as the villages do. There is no way in hell they are going to dedicate four officers to Mt Kisco 24/7 and bring others in when the dedicated ones are tied up on other calls. They just do not have the resources for that type of policing.

Sorry, I must disagree with you...although I feel sorry and completely understand ALL of the reasons why the police officers do not want to not be employed for the Village anymore, this is NOT their decision.This is for the residents to decide. Any staffing concerns need to be directed to the Village Board to find out why they have not been filling open positions. That being said... We have had ONE - 1 - public discussion about this. It certainly did not answer questions on many topics. What is the rush? I am now curious that Ossining is putting their current contract with the County Police Dept. out for bid. Seems maybe their next contract prices are much higher or they are not happy with the service. Do we really want to be scrambling every few years who will be serving and protecting our Village and the lowest bid! Either way, this is a de facto abolishment of our police department which requires a permissive referendum. This is a monumental decision that affects our police department which has been in existence since 1875. The current Village Board must do what is right and let the residents decide. PUT IT TO A VOTE!

There is a lot of information in this comment much of which is uninformed, not necessarily because of the writers’ cogent thought, his bias. I respectfully disagree with the writer and will attempt to take the points that are made one at a time.

First, no one is questioning the dedication of our police officers and no one that I heard at the recent meeting said or even implied that our officers do not deserve our respect and thanks for their service to this community, and no one precluded any of the police officers from speaking – they spoke through Sgt Spinelli, their PBA President;

Second, likewise no one is questioning the professionalism of the WCDPS – they were asked to commence this study – not the other way around – it was the Mayor who submitted the request to the WCDPS for this study. Also there is no guarantee of what the cost will be at this stage and there is definitely no guarantee that the costs will not rise just as they would without a merger;

Third, the idea that there will be more patrol officers on the street is also not clear and will not be clear until the proposal is actually available to the public to see how and when the patrols are scheduled, the format of the supervisory direction, and how the communication changes will affect the total number of police on the beat [this proposal will be available before the next Board meeting for all residents to study];

Fourth, the writer assumes, wrongly, that the cost savings will be substantial. What the writer does not say, and may not know, is that the arbitration which the PBA lost in court is, in my opinion, a significant reason for the PBA supporting this consolidation, because the Village did not bargain with them in good faith in the 2009-10 arbitration hearings;

Fifth, at the conclusion of those hearings here is what the attorney for the Mount Kisco PBA, John Clark had to say in his dissent of the hearings: “This award is arbitrary, capricious and based on something or some thinking which has nothing to do with Mount Kisco, its fiscal condition, comparable communities, the bargaining history of these parties, or the other criteria the Panel is obligated by law to consider…[T]he Chair unjustly and improperly assaulted the contractual benefits of men and women in the Mount Kisco police department with no regard for any semblance of fairness…” [Dated: July 13, 2012 – John K. Grant, Law Offices of John K. Grant];

Sixth, a referendum can and should be used to decide this merger in this general election in November. Under New York State Election Law §15–104 and under Article 9 of the N.Y.S. Village law a permissive referendum is subject to a petition and resolution by the BOT. It can be done, but it is clear this BOT is unwilling to have its citizens given their rights to vote on this issue.

Finally, the entirety of the writers’ passionate tome is “illogical” to quote his term. All of the writer’s allegations or assertions are pure fiction. We have a true professional and dedicated police department and their reason for supporting this merger is because they don’t see any other way to advance their careers, get the modernization they need, the remuneration they deserve and the benefits they have earned. They have argued with this administration and see this as their only way to acquire the dignity they warrant. I understand their frustration, but this is not the way to allow the police department to gain the benefit and respect due them from this administration, nor the public who already bestows those accolades on them. Some people hold out a hand to slap you down – I propose to hold out a hand to lift you up. The Mount Kisco police department deserve better than the pawns for which they have been used in this game of one-upmanship.

Dear Sir, I say the following with the upmost respect! You have an uncanny ability to use eloquent language to mask you complete lack of understanding of the issues at hand....In other words- You talk a good game but don't know what the heck you are talking about!. I don't blame you at all. I think you are being mislead.
First of all, the previous writer is not trying to illicit any accolades for the police from either yourself or anyone else. The writer was simply responding to Kim Terlizzi's comment that because the police are all not residents, their views don't count. The writer was pointing out how illogical that comment is as I'm sure you would agree. Of course their views count.
Secondly, the writer was not saying that anyone is suggesting that the Westchester County Dept of public safety is not a professional organization. The writer was pointing out that they are an professional organization led by honest, and sincere individuals who presented an extremely convincing argument for consolidation.
Third, of course there will be more police patrolling the streets. That fact was clearly presented by Sgt Weiss of the WCDPS. Didn't you listen to the presentation? The previous writer explained in simple terms how that is so. It's not rocket science. There are presently only zero to two officers on the street at any given time. Many shifts don't have a supervisor working at all. I say zero because if there is an arrest or serious call, there are no officers patrolling the streets at all unless more are called in on overtime. The county proposal guarantees three officers plus a supervisor. The saving would be from the use of county's dispatching facility, as well as their supervising and administrative staff and from their ability to backfill posts without incurring overtime costs. How can anyone argue against the value of those simple FACTS.
Fourth, the writer is assuming that their is a substantial saving based on the clear data being presented by the WCDPS as well as common sense. Commissioner Longworth stated himself that "every penny will be accounted for" The model presented by the WCDPS will save tax dollars for various reasons including the ones that I mentioned before.
Anyone with an understanding of how policing works understand how inefficient small police departments are both economically and from an enforcement view point.
Sir, based on comments you made during you unsuccessful write in campaign for mayor, I would sincerely question your understanding of policing. During you campaign, you claimed to have a plan to supplement the present police department with part time officers. Really? Do you really thing the a group of part time officers would offer anywhere near the level of service that the WCDPS would provide? You believe that group of part timers are going to be able to competently address the infiltration of illegal drugs in the community, or the domestic violence being committed against women and children, or the robberies, or the sex crimes? These are among several other serious issues that are affecting communities throughout the region that require a sophisticated level of policing that a the WCDPS is more than capable of providing. That is why the Mt Kisco police are for consolidation and that is why the previous writer was pointing out the value of their opinion.
Fifth, you are correct that the last arbitration award was horrendous for both the police and the public. It was grossly unfair. I concur. But to suggest that it is the main reason why they support merger and to refer to them as "pawns" is insulting. Are you saying that the if this merger was bad for the community, the police would support it only so they can receive fair pay and benefits? I don't believe so. I believe that the police are supporting this consolidation plan because it is great for the community as well as it being good for them.
Your comment "their reason for supporting this merger is because they don’t see any other way to advance their careers, get the modernization they need, the remuneration they deserve and the benefits they have earned" is a bit confusing. So now you are basically agreeing with the PBA that the merger will offer career advancement and moderation as well as it will offer the officers better equipment and benefits. Of course a small department could attempt to provide a higher level of service that the County would provide, but would be extremely cost prohibitive.

One question...when Time Warner merged with Comcast, Disney with Pixar, Exxon with Mobil, JP Morgan with Chase...you get where I'm going...did their EMPLOYEES have a say... NO! Our police officers are village EMPLOYEES! At the end of their shifts they go home to their towns! This is not their village, this is where they work. This is a decision for the tax paying residents. Period!

Everyone's idea of what constitutes a big decision and what doesn't is different, but walking yourself through the exercise is a way I get to a point where I am more confident in my choices. This may or may not be the best for the Village; we have yet to hear from all the residents of this Village. If the above writer was at the meeting last night, he/she would have seen the overwhelming opposiiton to this merger - we don't know yet - I don't know yet. The idea that a "stroke of a pen" will accomplish the needs of this Village is premature and as we see in history the stroke of a pen has lead to world wars, battles, camps and other areas that resulted where we needed an unstroke of the pen. A different view...

This really is a no-brainer for all parties involved. It will provide modernization, efficient operation, full-time supervision, and full staffing with the stroke of a pen. To accomplish all of the sorely-needed parameters of the presentation without consolidating would take years and cost taxpayers millions. This proposal saves money and give the residents the top notch police services they want and deserve.