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Saranac Lake police stops answering calls outside village

Village Board worried about costs, liability

Saranac Lake Police Chief Bruce Nason patrols Main Street during the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival.

Saranac Lake Police Chief Bruce Nason patrols Main Street during the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival. Photo by Andy Flynn.

There are also instances when municipal police departments ask neighboring villages for law enforcement help during special events, such as the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival.

“Those are sort of reciprocal arrangements that we’ve had with the surrounding villages that also provide policing services,” Van Cott said. “We probably should look at having those in writing as well going forward.”

Mayor Rabideau agreed with the resolution, citing an incident when he was the Plattsburgh mayor in which a city police officer was hurt while assisting State Police outside the city limits.

“He was out of work for almost a full year, and it cost the city of Plattsburgh over $100,000 with no recompense,” Rabideau said. “We immediately informed the town of Plattsburgh that we would no longer respond unless they reciprocate our losses in the future.”

In addition, the mayor pointed out that every time a village cop leaves the village, they’re leaving the village unprotected.

Trustee Elias “Allie” Pelletieri suggested that board members wait another month to talk to neighboring town officials and have the directive take effect in 30 days, thereby putting them on notice.

Van Cott, however, said that the village is currently on notice and should not wait to take action.

“If tomorrow something were to happen and one of our officers were to be injured … we could be in the hole for hundreds of thousands of dollars,” Van Cott said. “And that’s not something we can afford as a village.”

The motion to accept the resolution was passed unanimously by trustees Pelletieri, Van Cott, Tom Catillaz and Barbara Rice.

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