DUTCHESS COUNTY, N.Y. - The Village of Wappingers Falls Police Department will be disbanded following a vote Wednesday night by the Board of Trustees to hire the Dutchess County Sheriff's Office to take over police services.
The board, which voted 5-2, to approve law No. 7, allows Mayor Matt Alexander to disband the police department and gives him the authorization to sign a shared-services agreement with the sheriff's office, the mayor said.
As part of a state mandate for counties and municipalities to look at shared-services, the Village conducted a study over the summer that looked at cost savings, in addition to upgraded police services.
Alexander said the shared-services agreement would reduce the police budget from $1.49 million to $906,000.
But saving money wasn't the only issue, he added.
Under the agreement, the village will have eight full-time officers versus the current one full-time officer and 27 part-time officers. They will also continue to receive extra service from Zone 4 officers who patrolled the village, but were not required to stay within its boundaries, Alexander said.
In addition, the Zone 4 post will move its headquarters to the village, including a full-time detective.
The one full-time Wappingers Falls officer will be hired by the sheriff's office. The remaining officers will receive “top priority” if they apply for a job with the sheriff's office, the mayor added.
"The village police department has served us well, but in a sustainable path forward it made sense to sign the shared-services agreement," Alexander said.
He added that the current officers "did not take the change well."
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