Putnam Approves New Weapons, Computers for Sheriff
OKs also more PR expenses, Granite Mountain access
Putnam County Legislature voted 9-0 on Tuesday (April 6) for the delivery of new handguns to the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department and approved the terms of a new lease for the former Nelsonville fire station as a substation.
The legislature met in its monthly session (mostly) over an audio link and unanimously approved two environmental measures: an agreement with the Hudson Highlands Land Trust, 91 acre county property in the Putnam Valley with the 415 acre Granite Mountain Preserve of the Trust connect; and the County Soil and Water Conservation Board’s use of US $ 60,000 in government funding for local conservation grants.
The unanimous vote of the legislation did not extend to higher PR spending, which was strongly opposed by lawmaker Nancy Montgomery, who represents Philipstown and part of the Putnam Valley.
Montgomery, the only Democrat in the legislature, also broke off with her colleagues by activating a feature that showed her on the computer screens of those attending the meeting. “The video function is available to everyone!” she said after the meeting. “Our voters need to see us, and we really need to see each other.”
The eight Republican legislators remained invisible.
Gun reconciliation allows the Sheriff’s Department to spend $ 95,190 in revenue from sources such as prison inmate phone call charges, the purchase of 170 Glock Model 17 guns and 20 Glock Model 19 guns.
At the suggestion of arms supplier AmChar Wholesale of Rochester, the Sheriff’s Department will hand over their used handguns and receive AmChar credit of $ 250 per gun – or a total of $ 47,500 if all used guns are in acceptable condition.
Legislator Ginny Nacerino, chair of the Protective Services Committee, said the loan is “not a refund” to buy the guns, but “will be used for future expenses such as ammunition”.
Kevin McManus, Sheriff’s Department Lt. Kevin McManus told the Nacerino Committee on March 18 that police handguns should be retired if they have been fired 5,000 to 10,000 times. “Many of our weapons are beyond that,” he said.
He added that the guns use 40 caliber bullets, but the new guns use 9mm ammunition, which the FBI thinks is more accurate. “We want our men and women to achieve what they want,” he said. The 9mm ammunition is also cheaper, he said.
An AmChar representative said Tuesday that the Glocks that Putnam is exchanging for loans will be resold to other arms dealers.
Legislature also approved the use of $ 6,364 from the inmate fee account to replace nine-year-old computers and $ 3,909 in office equipment for a computer forensics lab. A five-year lease was also signed with Nelsonville for the former fire station that served as the sheriff’s substation. Rent should start at $ 1,200 monthly (down from $ 1,000) and increase to $ 1,500 in the fourth and fifth years.
Despite Montgomery’s opposition, lawmakers approved spending up to $ 50,000 on a public relations consultant that year, transferring $ 20,000 from an emergency account for that purpose. Brewster-based East Branch Consulting, led by Debra West, helps County Executive Mary Ellen Odell write press releases and share information about the county’s COVID-19 response.
Montgomery argued that the emergency account, a reserve for emergencies, should not sign public relations efforts. She acknowledged that “it is important that we make this important information available to the public,” but said the role of working with health officials is better of “someone who has expertise in a pandemic … and in public health is trained, could be better noticed. The money should go directly to the health department. “