When an alleged drunk driver , authorities were able to force the man off the road and make an arrest—but not before several of the truck's tires exploded, sending seven officers to with non-life-threatening injuries.
Three of the injured officers are still recovering and out of the line of duty, a pricey dilemma—Orangetown has been paying between $5,000 and $7,000 in overtime each week to keep the injured officers' beats covered. So far this year, $155,000 has been spent in overtime payments for Nyack coverage alone, police said.
But now, with costs adding up in an already sluggish economy, the (OPD) is redeploying certain officers to eliminate expensive overtime—and Nyack is shouldering the aftermath.
The OPD is set to reassign Neil O'Donnell, the department's only Nyack-centric officer. O'Donnell played a role in a earlier this year; he will still be active in Nyack, although not as often as before. "He will not be there all the time," said Kevin Nulty, Orangetown's chief of police.
Nulty said the redeployment does not mean a reduction in force for Nyack, and will be solved as soon as the three injured officers are back on their feet. As for when this will be, however, Nulty said he is not sure.
"At any given point we have eight officers on patrol across Orangetown, plus a patrol sergeant" Nulty added, explaining how the OPD's 87-man force is utilized. "Two are always assigned to Nyack, and on weekend nights we have up to seven or eight in Nyack's 'entertainment district.'"
The "entertainment district" is OPD's phrase for the village's downtown, which has recently housed a , and a .
High price tags are no new problem for Orangetown Police—since 2009, the department has reduced its staff by three officers to make ends meet. "It's been attrition over the past two years," Nulty said. "It's understandable, with the suffering economy."
Still, the decision to have less coverage in Nyack—if only for a short period of time–is one that has local officials upset.
"It's a really big problem for Nyack," said Jen Laid-White, the Nyack trustee who serves as the village's liaison to Orangetown Police.
"This would be terrible for Nyack," added Richard Kavesh, the village's mayor. "It's really second-rate treatment."
Nyack disbanded its own police force in the 90s and opted for town coverage in order to save money; neighboring villages that pay for their own police forces, like and , see heightened property taxes and engorged budgets as a result. Currently, Nyack pays $2,100,000 each year to Orangetown for access to its police force—75 percent of Nyack's annual tax bill to the town.
The thought of a lessened police force is not a comforting idea for Nyack residents, either. Patch reached out to its readers on the subject and heard an overwhelming sentiment of concern.
"There is way too much activity in Nyack to scale back anything," wrote one reader on Patch's Facebook page. "Pure stupidity." Others noted the village could house more violent crime as a results, and perhaps needs its own department again.