HOOSICK FALLS, NY — Expanding the village's police coverage to cover the town of Hoosick and instituting a robo-call system for residents were two ideas discussed this week to increase public safety.
The idea of town-wide police coverage was raised again after the Rensselaer County Sheriff's office responded last month to an attempted break-in and a resulting shooting, according to Village Mayor David Borge.
"This is just an initial discussion," Borge said during Tuesday's Village Board meeting.
Borge said he had recently met with people "who were directly involved" in the incident at a North Hoosick home. Borge spoke generally and said he didn't have all of the details, but said that it "was devastating for everyone involved."
The Rensselear County Sheriff's Department responded to the incident. Borge said the village police department was not immediately involved with the incident.
"The village police can be there in five minutes or less. The sheriff took 19 minutes to get there," Borge said. "One individual involved has asked about a discussion of a town-wide police force."
Borge indicated that the individual will attend and present future village and town board meetings.
Questions like how much would it cost "are legitimate," he said, and would have to be figured out.
"This is not anything we're going to vote on tonight," he said.
According to the sheriff's department, police responded to a home on Route 22 early on June 25. The homeowner told authorities a man was trying to enter the residence and had made threats. A 37-year-old man sustained a gunshot wound to the chest and was taken to Albany Medical Center. The weapon used was a 12 gauge shotgun with birdshot.
The sheriff's office at the time said no charges were filed and that the investigation was ongoing. An inquiry made to the sheriff's office on Wednesday was not returned by press time.
Village leaders had previously discussed police coverage several years ago during talks about dissolving the village. The department has a budget of $325,000 with 17 part-time officers and two full-time employees. Dispatch has been through the county dispatch office in Troy since 2011.
Trustees also discussed other topics related to public safety. Borge said police officers had been driving around the village and using bullhorns to announce the most recent water use restriction.
A phone notification system like those used by many schools would be more effective at reaching residents, said resident Marion Stevens.
Officials agreed that was a good suggestion.
"We looked at that under a previous administration and the cost was prohibitive at the time. I think we should look at it again," Deputy Mayor Ric DiDonato said.
Contact Ed Damon at 802-447-7567, ext. 111.