OGDENSBURG, N.Y. (WWNY) - Could St. Lawrence County Sheriff’s deputies replace Ogdensburg police? That’s the question raised by a new idea out of Ogdensburg City Hall.
“I’d like to look at all the options. Whether we pay the sheriff for support here in Ogdensburg. Whether the sheriff provides administrative support. Whether we have a smaller police force doing more community policing type things and we look at the sheriff’s department and state police taking over more of the major and significant crimes,” said Stephen Jellie, Ogdensburg city manager.
When 7 News asked Ogdensburg Police Chief Robert Wescott about it Tuesday, he said he was being blindsided by it. He said he couldn’t comment until he found out more from the city manager.
City Councilor Michael Powers said he had not heard of it either – but could comment.
“It’s the most ridiculous thing I think I’ve ever heard,” he said. “Ogdensburg is a listed community with a significant methamphetamine issue.”
County officials contacted Tuesday said they had heard nothing about any such ideas about consolidation. Jellie said the city can’t keep doing business as usual.
“We, again, simply cannot afford in the city of Ogdensburg to maintain a law enforcement program as significant with the budget impacts as it is now,” said Jellie.
In May 2020, four Ogdensburg police positions were eliminated due to budget cuts. There were weeks of protests.
This talk of shared police services isn’t the only consolidation proposal being put out there by the city. There are a number of others, some of which are further along.
Monday night, the Ogdensburg city council voted 7-0 to transfer property tax foreclosure jurisdiction to the county. But that move must still be negotiated with the county.
Jellie would also like to save money by consolidating code enforcement, employee healthcare, and human resources and payroll services with the county.