The Herkimer Town Council is looking for ways to address some traffic concerns, but a town police force will not be part of the solution — at least now, according to town Supervisor Dominic J. Frank.
Frank said the town council voted at a meeting last month to established a town police department to be governed and run by the town council, but decided not to submit the law to the state for approval, which would have been the next step in the process.
“There’s been some conversation over the past year or so about some public safety issues,” said Frank. “They really stem around traffic — it’s not about people being afraid and not about crime other than some speeding and not using some roads the way they should be used. The intent is that we might need a traffic cop in the East Herkimer area.”
In particular, he said, motorists are using Pine Grove Road instead of Gros Boulevard to travel to and from locations on Gros Boulevard, including Herkimer Elementary School, the bus garage, Herkimer County BOCES and businesses on that road.
“There’s speeding on Pine Grove Road and a lot more traffic,” said Frank. “Every year we have the conversation with BOCES, the elementary school, Utica Alloys.”
For a while motorists cooperate, he said, but soon people on Pine Grove Road are asking the council to do something about traffic issues.
“We’ve heard all kinds of ideas,” said Frank. “People have suggested cameras, they’ve suggested blocking the road and having a town police force. We’re trying to listen to the people and come up with something.”
While some people thought a town police force would be a good idea, others disagreed.
“We did pass the resolution, but we decided not to submit it to the state of New York,” said Frank. “It’s tabled. At the moment I couldn’t tell you if it’s in the future or not.”
Frank did not know what the cost would be. Only preliminary information had been gathered when the council decided to table the matter and that was before it became part of the budget process.
Had the town police force been established, the town council would have acted as police commissioner to hire and fire members of the police force, set rates of pay, establish hours of work and establish and order needed equipment, according to the resolution adopted Sept. 16.