October 15th, 2018
HORNELL, NY – Hornell City Hall is not happy about the New York State plan to start arraigning all offenders at the Steuben County Jail instead of at the Hornell City Courthouse location. According to Mayor John Buckley and Police Chief Ted Murray, the county has proposed a new system where all perpetrators that need to be arraigned will be sent to Bath instead of being arraigned locally with manpower and cost falling directly on the city.
Currently, when a suspected offender is arrested, he will sit in a holding cell at the Hornell PD and then be taken to the Hornell City Hall Courthouse for arraignment, and then he/she is either released, or remanded back into custody of the Sheriff’s Dept with bail. With the new system, the Hornell PD will still hold the prisoners until arraignment, and then at the expense of the city will be taken to the Bath when a judge is present.
“We don’t have the manpower for transporting, the cost for additional fuel, and the available vehicles to run a system like this,” said Murray, “We currently have 3 people showing up for a shift, a desk officer and 2 patrol officers. If we have to transport prisoners to Bath for their arraignment, Hornell will be out 2 officers and a vehicle for a better part of the morning. This puts our own citizens in jeopardy with no one around to respond to a call.”
Buckley added that this will also be a tremendous cost to the city, “This is another unfunded mandate to be put on the taxpayers of Hornell. The total cost will be an extra $70,000 to $100,000 just for the first year alone. This will put a huge strain on our PD along with Corning’s and other venues. Between the overtime for officers, fuel, purchasing a new vehicle for multiple person transports, and wear and tear on our current vehicles, this will put our Police Dept. at the breaking point.”
City attorney Joe Peylch added that even though the city opposes the idea, it will probably still be forced on us. He added, “It’s not a matter of if it happens, but when.”
Murray also noted that with the police unions current contract, they cannot just bring in officers for the transport. “To require an officer to report to duty on an unscheduled shift it has to be an emergency, and this would not be considered an emergency.”
Last year Hornell arraigned 207 males and 62 females, which gives an idea about the added cost that will be incurred.