Binghamton Man Wants Vote on Plan to Dissolve Police Department
Binghamton City Council may consider a call for a referendum on a proposal to transfer law enforcement duties to the New York State Police and the Broome County Sheriff's Office.
John Solak, a West Side resident, last month submitted a request for legislation that would schedule a city referendum in November on a plan to dissolve the Binghamton police department.
Solak told WNBF News he's calling for the city agency to be dissolved as of January 1 with policing responsibilities within Binghamton to be turned over to the state and county departments.
The proposal was placed on the agenda for city council's Monday evening work session.
Solak said Binghamton residents are paying county taxes to fund the sheriff's office while that agency provides no law enforcement patrols within the city.
Solak said dissolving the police department "would reduce the city's potential liabilities to zero" for complaints alleging wrongdoing by law enforcement personnel.
In a statement issued on Monday, Tompkins County legislator Mike Sigler, a Republican who is running for the 52nd District state senate seat, criticized the proposal. He said "this kind of extreme 'Defund the Police' sentiment is completely and utterly absurd."
Residents of Deposit voted in November 2019 to dissolve the village's small police department that was staffed with part-time officers.
Deposit had been paying more than $200,000 annually for its police force. The village agreed to pay the county $60,000 a year for a sheriff's deputy to be assigned to patrol Deposit.
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