Silver Creek to explore policing options sooner than expected

SILVER CREEK – With the Chautauqua County Legislature’s decision to shorten the agreement with the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office and the village of Silver Creek, the village will now consider its options a little sooner than expected.

On Thursday, the legislature approved an enhanced protection contract for the village until the end of the year, instead of the original two-year agreement due to concerns with the amount the village would pay in exchange for the police service.

Mayor Nick Piccolo read a statement at the village board meeting Monday, saying the board had hoped for a different outcome, but will now explore its options.

“These recent events have simply required us to explore our options more quickly than anticipated,” he said.

He went on to say that abolishing the village’s police department was never the board’s aim; it was ultimately to explore the best options for the village and it will continue to do that with the shortened contract.

“Now that we have been advised that the sheriff’s department has only been approved to provide coverage until the end of the year, we will once again engage in active discussions with the town of Hanover and the village of Forestville to explore the potential for shared services that will provide all of our residents with the public safety they want and deserve, but in a manner that is cost-efficient and affordable,” Piccolo added.

He also assured residents, no matter the outcome, there will be law enforcement coverage for the village at all times.

Piccolo thanked the sheriff’s department and the legal team who helped put the agreement together, as well as Dunkirk Mayor Anthony J. Dolce and Dunkirk Police Chief David Ortolano for agreeing to store the village’s weapons until “the matter is resolved.” On behalf of the entire board, he also thanked all of the supporters of the board’s decision to contract with the sheriff’s department.

The board also thanked former Silver Creek Police Chief Timothy Roche for his help during this transition, especially in preparation for the upcoming Laurel Run, which will now be policed by the sheriff’s office, state troopers and with crowd control by the fire police.

The village board will next meet on July 15 at 7 p.m.