O’burg city manager, sheriff talk consolidation

Ogdensburg police
Ogdensburg police
Published: Jul. 29, 2021 at 4:12 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - Ogdensburg city officials and St. Lawrence County officials met Thursday to discuss the future of law enforcement in Ogdensburg.

“We’re taking the opportunity to determine whether there’s a more efficient way to provide law enforcement services,” city manager Steven Jellie told 7 News.

The meeting comes just after Ogdensburg police and the county’s 9-1-1 center completed an experiment in which the county handled overnight shift dispatching of emergency calls for the city for a few days. The experiment was hailed as a success.

Among those attending Thursday’s meeting was St. Lawrence County Sheriff Brooks Bigwarfe.

Jellie said they discussed everything from total consolidation, to sharing services, to the departments serving as back-ups for each other.

“All options are on the table,” he said.

Jellie said now is a good time to be talking, because Ogdensburg’s police chief Robert Wescott is about to retire.

“It’s a position that’s vacant, so we don’t have to worry about someone protecting their own job,” he said.

Bigwarfe, the sheriff, said in a statement that the meeting was held to “present information on the potential of completing a study regarding consolidation of some law enforcement duties between the City of Ogdensburg and other law enforcement agencies.”

“The St. Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office works in conjunction with all law enforcement agencies of the County to maintain sufficient public safety workforce, and the Ogdensburg Police Department is an integral part of the law enforcement community,” Bigwarfe said.

Also attending the meeting was county administrator Ruth Doyle and county legislator Rita Curran, who heads the operations committee.

Ogdensburg is looking to save money every place it can, because it faces a major financial crisis. It is close to the legal limit of what residents can be taxed, and has battled the county over its share of sales tax.

Jellie said the participants in the meeting agreed to exchange information and meet again in about a month.

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