Village of Frankfort: If we don't have you covered, someone else does

By GARY LIBERATORE

FRANKFORT, NY (WKTV) - Village of Frankfort residents have noticed their police department isn't patrolling as much as they are used to seeing.

After a press conference on Friday for the early morning shooting on Railroad Street in the Village, it was learned that State Police were the first to respond, even though the shooting happened one block from the Village of Frankfort police station.

On Monday, we asked Village of Frankfort police officials whether they truly are covering the Village around the clock. Recently named Village Public Safety Commissioner Mark Harris said he would provide us with a statement prepared by the law firm of Petrone & Petrone Attorneys at Law, stating as follows :

"The Village has taken several actions to maintain its police department coverage during the transition period until a new chief is selected. The selection committee has made diligent progress towards naming a new chief. Any appointments to the police force will be addressed with the input of that new chief once they have been selected. In the interim the Village is confident that assistance from County 911 operations, State Police and other police agencies will be available to the village as necessary."

Residents say they have noticed a change in their police coverage over the past couple of weeks.

Steve Conley was Frankfort's police chief until just over two weeks ago. He retired July 15th.

Conley had come under fire for a number of things including being named in lawsuits, one by the Herkimer County Coroner, and another by a village resident that claimed Conley assaulted them.

There was also the issue that one of Conley's officers was not certified to be a police officer, that officer has resigned, and there are other positions also vacant.

Residents say all of this sudden change has had an effect on the police coverage. And the head of the Town of Frankfort Police Department agrees.

Town of Frankfort Officer in Charge Jim Getman says his department has recently been called in to take Village police calls because no Village officers are on duty, much more than they have in the past.

"This has put my officers, State Police officers and Village and Town residents in an unfair and unsettling situation," Getman said.

Getman also says it has put his department into a a bit of a financial mess. If his officers are called in on a Village call, and it involves an investigation, his officers are, in some cases, being called in on overtime to work on the investigations after the initial call is over. Getman says he is working with attorneys himself to try and get reimbursed by the Village.

Getman says its a guessing game everyday whether any Village officers will be on duty. He says there are cases when the department may have an officer for six hours one day, 16 the next, but he says rarely, if ever, do they have officers on all 24 hours.

State Police officials also say they have been called in to cover calls in the Village of Frankfort, but offhand, can't say for sure whether the numbers recently are up. A State Police spokesperson says he will gather and release actual numbers of how many times they have covered for the Village of Frankfort on Tuesday.

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