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NY town loses half of its police force

Officers who left cited higher pay and better family medical benefits with other department

By Lohr McKinstry
The Press-Republican

TICONDEROGA, N.Y. — Half the Ticonderoga Town Police Department has resigned to take jobs with the Warren County Sheriff's Department.

Ticonderoga Town Supervisor William Grinnell said that puts the town in a fix for the busy summer months.

"They're (police) working longer shifts, 12-hour shifts, now," he told the Press-Republican. "So far, we've hired one new full-time officer and a temporary part-timer to take their place."

Still 24-hour Coverage 
Three of six officers, including a sergeant, an investigator and a patrolman, quit over the last few weeks to take jobs as road patrol deputies with Warren County. That department had a sudden spate of retirements that left many vacancies.

The departures from Ticonderoga left just three full-time officers and Chief Mark Johns, Grinnell said.

Johns said he's filling in with extended shifts, part-time officers and taking some road patrols himself.

"If availability isn't there, I won't mind (doing) patrols," the chief said. "We did recruit a lateral transfer from Essex County Sheriff's Department who starts next week, but we remain two officers down."

Despite all the problems, Ticonderoga still has 24-hour police coverage.

"We changed to a 12-hour shift for full-time, and the part-timers work eight-hour shifts overlapping those," Johns said. "The quantity and quality of services provided by the department remain the same regardless of staff level."

Advertising Openings
It may take months to replace the remaining two officers who left, Grinnell said, because a State Civil Service exam for police officer won't be held until September, and the next municipal police academy starts in January 2015.

"There's a Civil Service list now, but it's an old list that's been drawn on by everybody," the supervisor said. "There's also concern the new list won't be out in time for the next training class."

The department is advertising for officers, Grinnell said, and that might yield results.

"If we get the applications in, and they're qualified, we'd like to see them. They may apply from other departments."

'Can't Blame Them'
One thing they have done is replace longtime Police Clerk Ronald Drinkwine, who retired, with a new hire, Kortney Kraft. That position is part-time, Grinnell said, but does much of the paperwork for the department.

"We went through the interview process and found a good candidate," he said.

Grinnell said the officers who left cited higher pay and better family medical benefits with the Warren County Sheriff's Department.

"I wish them well. You can't blame them for wanting to move up.

Copyright 2014 the Press-Republican

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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