In recent months village administration has taken steps to make Trumansburg an increasingly safer and welcoming place. Now, 2019 is seeing the fruition of these key steps: adding two full-time police officers, creating a Safe Spot program, and entering into a labor agreement with the village Department of Public Works (DPW).
One of the first steps new police chief Joe Nelson requested from the Village Board of Trustees was full-time police officers. It was believed by Nelson and the board alike that adding a full-time presence builds community engagement and rapport and provides better results for those who find themselves within the police system, either as perpetrators or victims of crime. As reported previously, Nelson does still plan to take on, train, and advance cadets, which has been an important aspect of the Trumansburg police force for decades. He stated, “We will still work with cadets, we will still work with part-timers, and have a program to move people forward in law enforcement. We can still do that with full-time people giving the quality of service the people of the village deserve.”
Adding full-time officers is also better for the overall health of the community and the officers who serve it, as it will reduce the number of times in the week that officers who work in other municipalities or for the State Police or Sheriff’s Department report for duty after already working a full eight-hour shift.
The village is happy to announce it has welcomed Mackenzie (Mack) Covert and Benjamin (Ben) Wright as the two full-time officers. Both officers live in Trumansburg. Covert has 17 years of experience as an officer in Trumansburg and Dryden. She started her career in Trumansburg in 2001 before working in Dryden in 2004. She returned to the Trumansburg Police Department in 2017. Wright has been a part-time officer in the village for four years. They were both officially sworn in on Friday, Jan. 4.
As reported in September the village, the Trumansburg Central School District (TCSD), the Trumansburg Chamber, and several local businesses combined forces, partnering to implement a Safe Spot Program. The thought behind this was there may be a need for a place for youth to go when school isn’t in session, and they need assistance with problems at home, bullying, or other forms of abuse. This implementation, spearheaded by Village Trustee Keith Hannon, took much longer than expected to ensure that the appropriate information about what to do in an emergency situation was compiled to give to local businesses. Standard operating procedures have now been compiled by Hannon, and are being disseminated to local participating businesses. He researched the procedures and had conversations with TCSD and local support agencies. Hannon said, “Ultimately I used those conversations to craft something which I then sent back to the businesses for approval to ensure it was clear. Each binder also contains informational handouts that direct people to county-wide agencies that can offer professional support.” Local participating businesses include Atlas Bowl, Gimme! Coffee, Good to Go! Trumansburg Market, Little Venice, and Synergy Physical Therapy.It’s easy to forget and take for granted the DPW’s role in keeping the village safe, as they are such an integral part of daily life that they almost seem invisible. From plowing, picking up trash, brush, and leaves, to responding to emergency water main breaks, the DPW is always on call, and respond to residents with kindness and consideration. The entire crew truly have the health and safety of the community at heart. The DPW recently entered into a labor agreement with the village. According to a statement released on the village website on Dec. 27, “The Village, employees of the Village DPW, and Teamsters Local 317 entered into the Village’s first-ever labor agreement on Dec. 17. The agreement is the culmination of eight months of negotiation. It covers all Village DPW employees, and recognizes Teamsters as the exclusive representative of the employees of the Village DPW.” When asked about this change, Mayor Rordan Hart noted, “In early 2018 the employees of the village DPW voted to formally organize and they selected Teamsters Local 317 as their exclusive representative. That began the process and for the next several months we negotiated the terms of the contract that was eventually ratified last month.” Mostly the contract formalizes what was already in place, and added seniority-based time off and a stipend/bonus for length of service. Hart notes, “It’s good for the village to have in writing things that are already in place. It’s good for the employees to have it in writing as well.” The contract is posted publicly on the village website, trumansburg-ny.gov.
In other village news, the annual State of the Village Meeting will be held on Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019 from 9 a.m. until 12 p.m. at the Trumansburg Fire Hall. The agenda items to be discussed will be released in this month.
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