Consolidation Considerations

By WBNG News

July 22, 2010 Updated Dec 30, 2008 at 7:46 PM EDT

Money to study, money to merge.

Tonight the Broome County Legislature is considering applying for grants that could lead to a Metropolitan Police District.

But as Action news Reporter Jessica Light shows us, not everyone included wants to be involved in this plan for police consolidation.

A Metropolitan Police District would combine forces from the city of Binghamton, Johnson City, Vestal, Endicott and Port Dickinson.

But would it save taxpayers money?

The county may try to answer that question with a state funded study using a consultant.

"It could say a certain 2 municipalities make the most sense to consolidate first or it could just be that all of them just combine some services they provide." says Pat Brennen, The Deputy County Executive.

Only Johnson City and the City of Binghamton want to be part of the study, but it will examine all police forces in Broome County.

The Police Benevolent Association President, Craig Follett says quote "I can speak for most departments in the area when I say this plan is not right for the county."

Follett says a better use of time and money would be to visit areas where consolidation has occurred to see how it works.

Sheriff David Harder supports shared services among police departments.

But he doesn't like the idea of a Metro Police Force.

"This is something that they're just trying to spring on us, dump on us. However you want to say it." says Harder.

Harder says the county needs to talk more with police chiefs and towns involved.

Binghamton Mayor Matt Ryan says consolidation won't work without communication.

"Unless everybody's at the table, talks about the pros and cons and then makes an informed decision. But if its just a study and somebody tries to impose it, without buy in from all the people its going to affect, it won't work." says Ryan.

Ryan says he's curious to see what this study would show, calling it a first step to find the best way to save taxpayers money and keep them safe.

In Binghamton, Jessica light, WBNG-TV Action News.

The County Legislature is voting on whether to apply for a $50,000 state grant to study consolidation.

Plus, another 400-thousand dollar grant to implement it's recommendations.

Broome would have to contribute 10% of each grant if approved.

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