Public Safety Committee

December 7, 2006

3 p.m.

Scott Heyman Conference Room

Present:  R. Booth, L. McBean-Clairborne (arrived at 3:25 p.m.), M. Koplinka-Loehr; M. Hattery

Excused:  M. Robertson

Legislators:  T. Joseph

Staff:  P. Meskill, Sheriff; S. Whicher, P. Younger, County Administration; K. Leinthall, Department of Probation and Community Justice; J. Hughes, Assigned Counsel; J. Wood, County Attorney; M. Pottorff, Legislature Office

Guests:   D. Dietrich, OAR; T. O’Brien, K. Huddleson, NYS Division of Parole; W. Furniss, local attorney



Called to Order


            Mr. Booth called the meeting to order at 3:02 p.m.


Changes to the Agenda


            The following items were added to the agenda:


            Appointment (2)

            Discussion – Emergency Radio Communications Protection Law

            Update on Communications System


Privilege of the Floor by the Public


            No member of the public was present.


Approval of Minutes of November 2, 2006


            It was MOVED by Mr. Koplinka-Loehr, seconded by Mr. Hattery, and unanimously adopted by voice vote by members present, to approve the minutes of November 2, 2006.  MINUTES APPROVED.


Update on Communications System


            Mr. Whicher reported the communications system is moving along.  All of the towers are up with two towers needing to be reinforced.   He said six out of the new ten shelters are in place and two landlord disputes should soon be resolved.  Systems integration and deployment of the entire system will begin early next week.  The Microwave will be going up as soon as possible; once the microwave is up they will be able to redeploy the old mobile data system for the Sheriff’s Department.


            Mr. Whicher said it is important for this Committee to know a deadline is approaching where a decision about payment will need to be made.  Mr. Shurtleff has been working with all of the emergency responders to develop a list of needed equipment and costs.  Mr.Whicher said he anticipates finding out by the end of this month whether Tompkins County will be receiving any additional member-item monies. 


            Mr. Hattery asked how much the County is going to need to pay towards the cost of subscriber equipment.  Mr. Whicher said the total cost of the subscriber equipment is approximately $2 million.  Of that amount, pagers are paid for by local governments.  All of the hand-held radios are the County’s responsibility.  We have $500,000 in member-item money that is specifically dedicated to some of the equipment that is being installed over the next few weeks.  The other $500,000 was attained with the understanding that it was for subscriber equipment.   He summarized and stated there is a cost of $2 million.  The County has $1 million in member-item monies, of which $500,000 has to be dedicated to subscriber equipment.  Mr. Hattery said he would like to have a description of what is subscriber based.  He would like to see something that lays out the situation and several options.  The Committee will continue discussing this at the next meeting in January.


New York State Division of Parole


            Mr. Joseph introduced Tim O’Brien and Kay Huddleson from the New York State Division of Parole.  They just had a meeting with representatives from the Sheriff’s Office and Assigned Counsel to talk about what can be done to speed up processing for people who have been violated on Parole and who are in the Tompkins County Jail.  Mr. O’Brien said the meeting went well and there were a couple of ideas that came out of the meeting.  At the present time there is one day per month to service these cases which result in adjournments.  These adjournments that have resulted because of efforts to tap into local services or program placements, etc. which usually end up putting case over for an additional month.  They will be trying to see if they can identify individuals who may need Medicaid certification so that they can get into programs faster if that is an appropriate disposition.  They was also discussion of the possibility, when necessary, of adding an additional calendar days in order to keep the numbers down.   Across the State they have tried to do this and have had some success.  He said Tompkins County does not have a large number of cases; however, they would like to do everything they can to bring cases to closure much faster.


            The following ideas also came out of the meeting:


            Focus in on three defense attorneys to represent these individuals in Parole hearings.  They believe with having attorneys who specialize in Parole violation cases that may provide additional efficiency.


            Moving documents through the appropriate channels faster.


            Having a law judge act faster. 


            Mr. O’Brien said if there are alternative dispositions that are agreed upon for someone to enter a program, the Medicaid piece will be crucial.  They will be looking into processing them across the State and ways to place these Medicaid applications on a fast track.   He also said he would like to bring State program services representatives to Tompkins County to speak with Mr. Joseph.


            Mrs. McBean-Clairborne arrived at 3:25 p.m.


            Sheriff Meskill said Tompkins County averages approximately eight to nine violators per month that fall under this category who have been violated on a technical violation.  While this is not a large number of people, Sheriff Meskill said these people can cause complications when managing the Jail boardout population.   Out of the eight violators, approximately six of them will end up being sent back to State prison and two will be released.  He stated that while 90 days may be too long for a process, there needs to be a process place. 


            Ms. Leinthall said the most important issues for these individuals are education, housing, and employment.  She explained the scope of services for the Day Reporting Program and said if these people find solutions to these issues they have a better chance of succeeding in the community.  She said there is a commitment in Tompkins County to fast track this process; however, the County is limited by the State. 


            Mr. O’Brien and Ms. Huddleson said they would return to their office and share the issues that have been addressed here.  They will also work to speed up the hearing process.


Sheriff’s Office




            It was MOVED by Mr. Koplinka-Loehr, seconded by Mr. Booth, and unanimously adopted by voice vote by members present, to approve the following resolution and submit to the full Legislature


WHEREAS, the Tompkins County Sheriff’s Office had one employee, Road Patrol Deputy, terminate employment effective October 27, 2006, and

            WHEREAS, the Fiscal Policy of Tompkins County allows for terminal pay replacement from the Contingent Fund, now therefore be it

            RESOLVED, on recommendation of the Public Safety and the Budget and Capital Committees, That the Director of Finance is hereby authorized and directed to make the following budget appropriations:


FROM:                        A1990.5400                Contingent Fund                     $35,794.12

TO:                  A3114.51000419        Deputy Sheriff                        $25,751.17

                        A3114.58000              Fringes                                               $10,042.95          



* * * * * * * * * *

            It was MOVED by Mr. Booth, seconded by Mr. Koplinka-Loehr, and unanimously adopted by voice vote by members present, to approve the following budget adjustment and submit to the full Legislature



Revenue Acct           Title                     Amt              Approp Acct               Title(s)            ญญญญ___________

3113.42770   Miscellaneous Revenues           $14,625                       3113.52231                 Vehicles

Explanation:  Revenue deposited November 13, 2006, transfer auction proceeds to vehicle line for replacement expenditure.

* * * * * * * * * *


Appointment to Advisory Boards


            It was MOVED by Mr. Booth, seconded by Mr. Hattery, and unanimously adopted by voice vote to approve the following appointments to the Criminal Justice Advisory/Alternatives-to-Incarceration Board:


            Terms expire December 31, 2009

            Deborah Dietrich – Representative of an agency providing ATI services

            Kenneth W. Lansing – Local Police representative

            Patricia Buechel – Department of Probation and Community Justice representative

            Richard Bennett – Treatment Program representative

            John Rowley – County Court Judge       


            It was MOVED by Mr. Hattery, seconded by Mr. Hattery, and unanimously adopted by voice vote, to approve the following appointments to the Traffic Safety Committee:


            Terms expire December 31, 2009

            Lawrence M. Jackmin – New York State Police representative

            Peter Meskill – Sheriff representative     


Liaison Reports


            Mr. Koplinka-Loehr announced an Open House will be held at Offender Aid and Restoration on December 14th.


Local Emergency Planning Committee


            Mrs. McBean-Clairborne reported the Committee met and established goals for 2007.


Fire, Disaster, and EMS


            Mr. Hattery reported the advisory board has been discussing an issue about potential for liability coverage that prohibits cross-jurisdictional responsibilities.


            Mr. Shurtleff will be putting something together to identify what the needs are.


Emergency Communications Review and Oversight Committee


            Mrs. McBean-Clairborne reported the Committee is working with Jim King from the Office of  Homeland Security


Emergency Radio Communications Protection Law


            The Committee discussed local law language presented by Jonathan Wood, County Attorney, with regard to preventing interference with the Countywide public safety radio communications system.    Mr. Wood said the adoption of a local ordinance would be up to individual municipalities because the County does not have any land control rights.  Mr. Hattery said every municipality has an interest in the integrity of the communications system and suggested that this be presented to code enforcement officers around the County.   It was stressed that while the County would like municipalities to adopt this ordinance, it is important that no one know where the signals from the system are going.    It was agreed that discussions should be held with the City and that this draft ordinance should be presented to the Council of Governments. 


            Mr. Booth was excused at 4:10 p.m.


Committee Goals


            The Committee briefly reviewed 2006 Committee goals.  The goals are as follows, as well as the status of each.




1)     Maintain & increase safety of the public in Tompkins County. DONE

2)     Oversee construction, acceptance testing, acceptance, and implementation of the Communications Capital project.  (We should regularly receive updates and discuss pertinent issues respecting this project.) DONE

3)     Monitor jail population and boarded-out population on on-going basis; get analysis/trends info.  DONE

4)     Work to improve criminal justice system to minimize jail stays consistent with public safety. WORK STARTED, BUT NOT COMPLETED ON THIS GOAL.

5)     Oversee County's preparations to make the County as ready as possible to deal with a major emergency, including facilitating communications and operations with departments that have responsibilities for dealing with emergencies but do not report to this committee (e.g., Health Department) and with other committees of the Legislature (e.g. Health and Human Services, Facilities and Infrastructure) that oversee those other departments.  WORK STARTED, BUT NOT COMPLETED ON THIS GOAL.

6)     Oversee implementation of 2006 budget and examine pertinent issues/information in preparing for adoption of 2007 budget. DONE

7)     Oversee implementation of County's Dispatch Responsibility at the 911 Building. DONE

8)     Oversee in broad terms the conduct of employee evaluations in the several departments.  NOT DONE




9)     Deal with questions with regard to repairs, rehabilitation of, and potential future for the public safety building.  WORK STARTED, BUT NOT COMPLETED ON THIS GOAL.

10) Recommend direction for the Criminal Justice Data Sharing Project.   DONE

11) Explore enhancements to the ATI programs that will fill gaps and support “D” above. Self-evaluation by Community Justice Center staff for purpose of having the Center run as effectively as possible.  WORK STARTED, BUT NOT COMPLETED ON THIS GOAL.

12) Collaborate with the Sheriff to examine adequate level of road patrol. NOT DONE

13) Actively communicate with the public and taxpayers as to the activities of this Committee.     WORK STARTED, BUT NOT COMPLETED ON THIS GOAL.

14) Review the sharing of data across public safety personnel and the use of data in driving decisions, including usefulness of the data.  WORK STARTED, BUT NOT COMPLETED ON THIS GOAL.


The following suggestions were presented for 2007:


            Continue monitoring of pilot program at the Jail involving DSS

            Continued and additional discussion of emergency planning

            Discuss and monitor the “rollout” of subscriber equipment


Chair’s Report


            Mrs. McBean-Clairborne thanked the Committee and staff for its working during the year. 




            The meeting adjourned at 4:20 p.m.





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