SL Police awarded drug money from Franklin County

SARANAC LAKE - Franklin County District Attorney Derek Champagne was in Saranac Lake yesterday to present the village police department with its share of drug seizure money.

Saranac Lake Police Chief Bruce Nason joined Champagne for a press conference at the village offices to announce the receipt of $10,000 in forfeitures under the Department of Justice's Federal Equitable Sharing Program.

Champagne said the funds will go toward the purchase and installation of cameras for village patrol cars.

"All you have to do is watch television to know that those cameras are a tremendous asset for officers and prosecutors," he said. "When we have officers testify, unfortunately in the days of CSI and all these other shows, sometimes their testimony is not enough," Champagne said.

"I really praise the Saranac Lake Police Department for taking this initiative," he added. "I think it helps not only for prosecutions and convictions, but it helps protect the village and its officers if somebody makes an allegation that a police officer did something, you can pull the tape and take a look and see exactly what happened."

The Equitable Sharing program - also known as E-Share - was designed to enhance cooperation between local, state and federal law enforcement agencies. Any agency that directly participates in an investigation or prosecution resulting in the forfeiture of money is eligible to participate in the program.

Most recently, the Saranac Lake Police Department assisted in a multi-agency drug bust that seized more than $1.3 million in cash and dismantled a drug-smuggling ring that moved large quantities of marijuana from Northern New York to Cleveland, Ohio.

Chief Nason said the police department is happy to lend a hand in investigating large-scale operations. He also cited the benefits the department receives in return.

"We appreciate the support from Franklin County District Attorney Derek Champagne," Nason said. "Without this assistance and this money from him we wouldn't be able to put cameras in our cars."

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