Public reactions from multiple viewpoints came at Monday’s meeting for the proposed police consolidation for Mount Kisco and Westchester County.
The merger agreement has some village police support.
Mount Kisco Sgt. Joseph Spinelli, who is president of the local PBA, endorsed the proposal on behalf of the union and its membership. He noted benefits for police that include better pay and benefits, along with greater opportunities for career advancement. Spinelli also supports the increase in staffing that the merger would entail, along with increased supervision of officers.
Mel Berger, a resident who is involved with the local drug and alcohol council, said he was “extremely happy” for the contract but had concerns including keeping relationships between people and officers, and about police involvement with the council.
County police officials cited examples from the Town of Ossining and the Town of Cortlandt, which also have county policing contracts.
George Longworth, who is commissioner for the Westchester County Department of Public Safety, noted that programs in Ossining remained in place and explained that any program working in Mount Kisco would be maintained. Another county police official noted involvement in a Cortlandt group. That organization is called the Cortlandt Community Coalition, which deals with underage drug and alcohol usage, according to the town’s website.
The merger plan also involves having officers in regular assignments, and county police officials denied that there would be frequent personnel turnover.
Addressing the issue of turnover, Longworth brought up how it can already happen with local police, citing retirement and injury examples.