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Budget Problems Could Close Two Westchester Police Departments

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Budget issues could result in the closing of two Westchester police departments. (Credit:CBS2)

Budget issues could result in the closing of two Westchester police departments. (Credit:CBS2)

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NEW YORK(CBSNewYork) — Big budgets and rising taxes could soon send two Westchester police departments into extinction.

Many of the suburbs north of the city are defined by their ability to field a local police force, and residents of Mount Kisco and Pleasantville told CBS2’s Lou Young that it is more than just a simple luxury.

“I would prefer to have those who work with us to be local,” said Carol Steiner of Mt. Kisco.

Patricia Hammel of Pleasantville echoed those sentiments.

“Let’s have a little individuality and have our own.  I think that’s better,” she said.

But both Pleasantville and Mount Kisco have decided to take a second look at the expense. Both communities are considering a merger with the larger Westchester County Police Department.

The chief of Mount Kisco’s thirty-five member department says that it shouldn’t be about turf or ego.

“I don’t think a person that’s affected by this decision should have anything to say. I think it should be made at the government’s level for the best interests of the community,” he said.

The town of Ossining did it last year, the former Chief, Mark Busche, is now a Captain with the county police, he says that the merger made sense.

“It’s a contract which guarantees a certain level of police service,” said Busche.

It’s called economy of scale, at the county police department one sergeant supervises ten police officers. It drives down costs and hopefully taxes.

The economic benefits seemed to brighten the picture for at least one resident.

“Well a tax reduction is a great thing, now I’m definitely interested,” said Debbie Freshman of Mount Kisco.

Both towns say that the budget numbers will weigh heavily on their ultimate decision. There are currently forty-two separate municipal police departments in Westchester County.

Do you prefer local law enforcement or a county force at a reduced price? Let us know in the comments section below…

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