A Passionate Plea from Officers at the Tupper Lake Police Department begs the question.. Are there enough cops on the force in Tupper Lake…. That’s the question the Village of Tupper Lake is dealing with as it hears from members of the audience at the village’s public budget hearing on Monday Evening…First to Speak is Mike Vaillancort.. He says the reason he and his fellow officers, along with their friends and family are on hand for the hearing is because it came to their attention that the village board is making another cut to the village’s police department..Heather Kennedy is another Police Officer in the Village of Tupper Lake.. She told a story of a particular incident that is close to her heart.. Her niece when she was an infant stopped breathing.. The Court Room is full just about to capacity with friends and family of local police officers, as well as others from ambulance and social services who either play a key role, or have a stake in the enforcement of the law.. The Village Board is facing the audience with Mayor Paul Maroun at the Judges Bench flanked by Hodgie Maroun to his left… Tom Schneider, Leon LeBlanc and Rick Donah are to the Mayor’s Right along with Village Clerk Mary Cassagrain… They’re going down a list of people who have signed up to speak at the hearing… Robert Duchane is a resident of Tupper Lake who tells a story about the impact the village’s police have had on his family..
Before we go too much further reporting on comments from the audience, it’s important to remember that officers in the department are in fact lobbying very hard for the village to include another police officer in this year’s budget.. and towards the end of the comments, Trustee Tom Schneider spoke about the difficulty in putting together this budget.. He starts by saying he’s like to put this all in perspective.. “If you want us to have more cops, the taxes are going to have to go up. It’s not that easy” Tupper Lake Mayor Paul Maroun says the overall village budget process is very hard work because the tax rate in the village and the assed value is low..During the hearing One of the officers suggested village officials should ride along on a night shift just to get a feel for what that might be like and Mayor Maroun responded following the meeting by saying some officers may not know that he has in fact seen the work first hand..
There are two Tupper Lake Officers who are in their full uniforms.. One of those officers is next on the list to speak.. His Name is Matt Dana.. David Hayes is the Assistant District Attorney in Franklin County, he has an office in Tupper Lake and handles major Felony cases in Malone when necessary.. He tells a story about drug use in the region, and the amount of cases that friends who were up over the weekend and thought that his case load was primarily DWIs and Domestic Incidents..
Tom Fee is Tupper Lake’s Previous Police Chief.. He spoke with the board during the public hearing on Monday night about the importance of planning ahead..Chief Fee also pointed out the services provided to the Tupper Lake Central School District.. he read a letter from The Middle – High School Principal Matt Southwick and LP Quinn Elementary Principal Carolyn Merrihew aspousing the value of the support the school district receives from the village’s police department.. The Letter says the impact of the presence of the Village Police in the school’s buildings can not be overstated.. and it continued by saying reductions to the force would eliminate the positive strides that have been made in cooperative efforts to bring out the best in our communities schools and village streets.. One of the issue raised by many is the question of additional overtime hours.. Mayor Maroun says he’s heard this argument in the county for years but it never works out well because there is still the need for overtime hours.