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Minutes: Allegany County Public Safety Committee

PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE

February 5, 2020

Members Present: D. Healy, W. Dibble, D. Decker, B. Harris, S. Havey, J. Hopkins

Other Present: G. Barnes, A. Bigelow, J. Burdick, B. Christman, P. Curran, M. Evans, D. Fanton, K. Graves, G. Green, R. Hall, S. Hicks, C. Ivers, C. Knapp, S. Lanphier, D. Marsh, K. Monroe, B. Perkins, J. Ricci, B. Riehle, D. Root, T. Ross, K. Slep, R. Starks, P. Stockin, R. Swarthout, B. VanHousen, M. Washer, R. Whitney

Call to Order: The meeting was called to order at 1:31 p.m. by Public Safety Committee Chairman Dwight "Mike" Healy.

Approval of Minutes

 
A motion was made by Legislator Decker, seconded by Legislator Dibble, and carried to approve the Public Safety Committee minutes for January 8, 2020.
 
PUBLIC DEFENDER
 
Public Defender Barbara Kelley was unable to attend the meeting but submitted her monthly report to the committee for review. Ms. Kelley submitted the following memo for the Board of Legislators to review:
"I am scheduled to be in Court during the February Public Safety Meeting, so I wanted to give you the verbal portion of my report via this memo.

‘You may notice what looks like significant differences in our numbers for January of this year when compared to 2019. We are now attempting to coordinate with other providers (conflicts and assigned counsel) to make sure our case counts match. To that end, we are meeting and resolving any discrepancies. The meetings will take place mid-month. To avoid confusion our reports will now specify the exact dates covered, rather than by month only.

‘From my point of view, the biggest problem with bail and discovery reform thus far has been the misinformation circulated concerning the requirements of the law. The Public Defender’s Office is making every attempt to promulgate facts not fear. For example, there is no requirement that charges be automatically dismissed if discovery is not provided within 15 days of arraignment. Sex offenses are still subject to bail. If a defendant commits a felony while at liberty on a previous felony, the order of recognizance or non-monetary conditions can be revoked.

‘Our office does not represent all criminal defendants in the County. However, we do handle the majority of criminal cases. To date, none of our clients who were released under the new bail rules have failed to appear for a subsequent court date without an approved adjournment.

‘As always, I am available should any of you have issues or concerns you wish to discuss with me."

Respectfully submitted,

Barbara J. Kelley, Public Defender
 
EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT & FIRE
 
Emergency Services Assistant Bonnie VanHousen attended the meeting and submitted their monthly report to the committee for review. Ms. VanHousen briefly highlighted past and upcoming events in their monthly report. Legislator Harris stated that in the next month there is a statewide push for more volunteer fire memberships and asked if our County has local outreach. Ms. VanHousen sated there is recruit NY that will be held in April, and their office always assists in any way they can. Legislator Harris asked if they have been successful in the past. Ms. VanHousen indicated that Wellsville received three volunteers. Legislator Harris stated there was a suggestion that college towns utilize fire training as credit courses as well as have fire houses offer bunk housing in exchange for volunteering. Ms. VanHousen stated that Houghton and Alfred college do offer credit courses for their EMT class; however, they are not currently offering anything for fire, adding that most departments aren’t big enough to offer any bunking.

 


Structure Fires  Legislator Barnes asked what caused the fire at the Town of Burns Highway Building. Ms. VanHousen stated that wiring in a truck got hot and caused the fire. Legislator Barnes stated at one of the sessions at the NYSAC conference, a NYMIR representative indicated that they are finding these happening a lot statewide and asked if they are making a concentrated effort to get all of our fire departments in the County up to speed to make sure they are being careful and maintaining their vehicles, adding that we’ve lost two recently and need to be doing whatever we can to avoid this from happening in the future. Ms. VanHousen stated that it has been brought up at the Highway Association meetings, and training has been sent out. As for fire departments, they are focusing more on how to preserve the scenes. Legislator Barnes stated the highway departments should be doing a better job of making sure this doesn’t happen in the future. Ms. VanHousen agreed and stated she will bring it up at the next meeting. Legislator Burdick indicated that NYMIR is being very proactive with the issue. Legislator Fanton stated that it’s been suggested that they disconnect the whole service of the truck and shut it down at night, adding that these newer trucks have a lot of electronics in them and getting sand and salt on them will cause issues.
 
STOP DWI  STOP-DWI Coordinator Brian Perkins attended the meeting and submitted his monthly report to the committee for review. Mr. Perkins briefly highlighted events he attended in the month of January. Mr. Perkins noted that he hopes to get the Amy Stock trailer again in July.
Blood Alcohol Level  Legislator Barnes stated that he recently read that some states are considering dropping the blood alcohol content level from .08 to .05 and asked if anything is happening in our area with that. Mr. Perkins stated that is what they are looking to do, and the push has been made for the last several years; however, it hasn’t gotten much traction due to the difficulty in deciding if there is enough of a distinction in arrests made in that range to make it worth lowering. Mr. Perkins indicated that New York hasn’t crossed the threshold yet where they think they will get enough votes to pass it; however, it is getting closer.  DISTRICT ATTORNEY
 
District Attorney Keith Slep attended the meeting and submitted his monthly report to the committee for review.  Discovery Reform  Legislator Harris asked if the big drop in violations from 162 in January to 53 in February is due to the discovery reform. Mr. Slep stated, yes; it’s been a nightmare, and they have to prioritize what they are going to do and violations aren’t in the mix. Legislator Barnes asked what recommendations Mr. Slep would make to the state that could possibly get changed. Mr. Slep stated to repeal everything that was just passed.

Request to Fill Investigator Position  Mr. Slep requested permission to fill one part-time Investigator (Section IV Salary Plan). Mr. Slep stated the current investigator is retiring, and he has had the pleasure of working with him for a long time. The annual salary of this position is $15,000 and is funded 100 percent with State funds. This request was approved on a motion made by Legislator Dibble, seconded by Legislator Decker, and carried. Refer to Ways and Means


PROBATION DEPARTMENT
 
Probation Director Robert Starks attended the meeting and submitted his monthly report to the committee for review, and briefly highlighted details of his report.  Approval of Rehabilitating & Empowering Disadvantaged Youth (R.E.D.Y.) Contract  Mr. Starks requested a resolution approving the agreement between Rehabilitating & Empowering Disadvantaged Youth (R.E.D.Y.) and the Allegany County Probation Department to provide mentoring services. R.E.D.Y. provides staff who assist youth with truancy problems to get to school as well as provide one-on-one mentoring services for these youth. The Allegany County Department of Social Services had a prior agreement with R.E.D.Y. to provide these services; however, they now want the Probation Department to assume this agreement and manage it. The agreement period is from January 1, 2020, to December 31, 2020, for a sum not to exceed $29,101. These funds are currently in the Department of Social Services budget and will be transferred to the Probation Department budget once the County Treasurer has established the appropriate accounts. Mr. Starks noted that this does not involve his staff at all; they are strictly a pass through. County Treasurer Terri Ross stated it’s an oversight switch from Social Services to Probation. This request was approved on a motion made by Legislator Hopkins, seconded by Legislator Havey, and carried. Prepare Resolution


Approval of Catholic Charities Agreement
 
Mr. Starks requested a resolution approving the agreement between Catholic Charities of Buffalo and the Allegany County Probation Department to provide Multi-Systemic Therapy (MST) services. MST is a strength focused approach to family systems therapy and is effective in helping youth ages 11 to 18 who are displaying juvenile delinquency or persons in need of supervision (PINS) type behavior. The Allegany County Department of Social Services had a prior agreement with Catholic Charities to provide these services; however, they now want the Probation Department to assume this agreement and manage it. The agreement period is from January 1, 2020, to December 31, 2020, for a sum not to exceed $153,459. These funds are currently in the Department of Social Services budget and will be transferred to the Probation Department budget once the County Treasurer has established the appropriate accounts. This request was approved on a motion made by Legislator Harris, seconded by Legislator Decker, and carried. Prepare Resolution

WEIGHTS & MEASURES  
Weights and Measures Director Gilbert Green attended the meeting and submitted his monthly report to the committee for review. Mr. Green briefly highlighted his report for the month of January. Legislator Decker asked how Mr. Green is notified when stations put in a new pump. Mr. Green stated they should be calling him.


SHERIFF’S OFFICE
 
Sheriff Rick Whitney attended the meeting and submitted his monthly reports to the committee for review and briefly highlighted events for the month of January.  911 Dispatch Center  Legislator Graves asked Sheriff Whitney to elaborate on the DMV Agreement that states the following:  "Users shall not (i) use DMV records or information for civil immigration purposes or (ii) disclose such records or information to any agency that primarily enforces immigration law, such as U.S. immigration and customs enforcement and U.S. customs and border protection, or to any employee or agent of any such agency unless such disclosure is pursuant to a cooperative arrangement between city, state and federal agencies which does not enforce immigration law and which disclosure is limited to the specific records or information being sought pursuant to such arrangement. In addition to the requirements of 18 USC 2721(c), the LEA shall keep for a period of five years’ records of all uses and identifying each person or entity that primarily enforces immigration law that received department records or information from such certifying person or entity. The LEA shall maintain the records in a manner and form prescribed by the commissioner, and the LEA shall make them available for inspection upon the Commissioner’s request."  Sheriff Whitney stated that he had refused to sign the agreement, and as a result New York State shut down their access to DMV records on January 15, 2020. Sheriff Whitney was forced to sign the agreement in order to get their operations up and running so the 911 Dispatch Center could obtain license and registration data from DMV for the local police departments and the New York State Police. Legislator Graves expressed his anger towards New York State stating, "That is the state of New York. Every one of them ought to go to jail."  911 Enumeration Project Update
 
Sheriff Whitney stated the 911 Enumeration Project is moving along, and Mr. Hall has finished the Town of Scio.
 
Adjournment
 
There being no further business to come before the committee, the meeting was adjourned at 2:17 p.m. following a motion by Legislator Decker, seconded by Legislator Dibble, and carried.

Respectfully submitted,

Meghan Washer, Confidential Secretary

Board of Legislators

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