Village of Owego Trustee: Police using scare tactics

By Perry Russom

July 28, 2014 Updated Jul 28, 2014 at 6:36 PM EDT

Owego, NY (WBNG Binghamton) The Owego Police Union says the safety of the village is at risk.

The group says the village board is looking to cut police services, but one Owego Trustee is calling it a scare tactic.

"(The flyer) says that the village board does not want to listen to the chief of police, PBA (Police Benevolent Association) or public and that's not true," said Village Trustee Earl Hartman.

Hartman said the issue is over police coverage and how the village wants to use taxpayer dollars in funding their department.

The flyer was posted this weekend and reads a "majority of the village board is drastically cutting police services."

Hartman said it's too early to come to that conclusion.

"We don't know what the options are at this point because we haven't had that discussion," said Hartman.

One idea being tossed around by village trustees is breaking up police coverage hours between Owego Police and the Tioga County Sheriff's Office.

"Getting rid of us would be like getting rid of Binghamton Police Department in Broome County," said Brett Kobylarz, president of the Owego Police Union.

Kobylarz said right now, the department has four full-time patrolling officers to cover the village 24/7 with the rest of time being filled in by part-timers.

"We have a vested interest to be here," said Kobylarz. "We treat this as our home. This is my home."

Koblaryz said the Sheriff's Office can't cover the village like they do.

"We can see a lot more of the problems just by being involved in the community more," said Kobylarz.

Hartman said this is an issue that ultimately comes down to money.

He said his goal is to come up with a plan on how to best utilize the Owego Police Department with the money available.