As a taxpayer, I can appreciate the fiscal problems facing the county, and although I believe the County Execs proposed cuts are well intentioned, I also believe they are short sighted, and are likely to adversely affect the safety of all residents in Rockland County.
For years, the Sheriff’s Department, under the leadership of Sheriff James Kralik and now Sheriff Lou Falco, has served as the conduit through which towns and villages were afforded the availability of enhanced and specialized law enforcement services. As a retired Chief of Police from a Village Police Department, I’m well aware of the impossible task smaller departments face in providing the same specialized services which larger departments like NYPD are able to provide. The costs of equipment and training, as well as the commitment of manpower, make it impractical and unaffordable for most departments to provide such services on their own. For this reason, the Sheriff’s Department, along with town and village Police Departments, have collaborated to insure that residents of Rockland should not be deprived the protections provided by these special police services.
Although some of these services may not be required as often as others, they are essential to the security and safety of our communities. The world, is becoming an increasingly dangerous place, and we are no longer immune to these dangers. The recent shootings in the Canadian Parliament, Washington State High School, the Nashville North Carolina Courthouse, the killing of two Sheriff’s deputies in Sacramento, and the hatchet attack on two NYPD Officers, all occurring in a period of one week, are reason enough to question the wisdom of the county executive’s proposed cuts. We cannot afford to use the argument…..’we don’t use these special services often enough to justify their existence’. It would be reckless and a disservice to the people of Rockland to use that argument as a pretense to dismantle them. As the saying goes, ‘It’s better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it’.