Endicott Mayor: Police department's elimination saves money

By Perry Russom

May 29, 2013 Updated May 29, 2013 at 8:25 PM EST

Endicott, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Endicott Mayor John Bertoni said officers in the Endicott Police Department are unwilling to negotiate a new -- and less expensive -- deal.

The mayor said he is trying to save the village money by shutting down the Endicott Police Department and having the Broome County Sheriff's Office patrol the village.

Endicott has 35 police officers in the department, but Bertoni wants to cut that number to 28 through a merger.

He said officers who want to merge with the Broome County Sheriff's Office would have a job if they wanted it.

He plans on saving at least $200,000 in the merger by cutting members from the department's upper hierarchy, including Chief Michael Cox, who made a little more than $97,000 last year.

"The bottom line to me, I want to get people out of the station," Bertoni said. "I want to get them on the street. I want them working ... Obviously it would decrease crime."

Bertoni said too many officers are sitting in the station rather than patrolling the streets.

Members of the department's police union were not available for comment Wednesday.

However, Endicott Police released a statement on their Facebook page that read: "The Village of Endicott Police Department has been in existence for over 100 years and the men and woman who currently work here have no desire to see that change. We offer police services unmatched by any other department in the area and will continue do so in the face of any outside interference."

At a press conference Wednesday Broome County Sheriff David Harder said he expects some Endicott officers to push back against the potential merger.

"I think there might be one or two," Harder said. "I think a majority of them will try to work things out. I think after they actually see what's going and and what's proposed, it won't be that bad."

Endicott Police Department's bomb squad would be absorbed by the Sheriff's Office.

It is one of the only bomb squads in the area.