East Syracuse police force survives public vote

The vote in East Syracuse was 504 No, 278 Yes. The question before voters at the polls was whether to allow the police deparment to be abolished and allow the nearby Town of DeWitt police force to take over patrols. In the end, voters rejected the plan which had already been signed off on by local leaders in East Syracuse and DeWitt.

In arguing for the abolishing of the force, the Village said it cut spending ten percent over the last five years, and having its police department absorbed by the Dewitt Police Department will save roughly $750,000 within the first year.

Now that voters have decided to keep the Village's police force, it will mean cuts. "People have to know what's coming," said East Syracuse Mayor Danny Liedka. "Major scaleback is going to occur, and the programs they're enjoying now are not going to be there," he told CNYcentral.

Some who voted "no" considered taking serious action if their police department was absorbed by DeWitt. "I will probably be looking to move somewhere else," said John Kosmetatos.

Kim O'Brien, President of Friends of the East Syracuse Police Department, said something similar. "I've had several people come to me and tell me they're going to pack up and leave the village," O'Brien said. "Several businesses have threatened to pull their business around here."

Another women who owns property in East Syracuse but lives in DeWitt was unable to vote, but said she would have voted "yes." If we keep the police force in East Syracuse, of course the taxes will go up," said Diane Szlamczynski. "And that's something that none of the landlords or owners - property owners - wants to see."

Following the voting results, Mayor Liedka told CNYcentral that the next step will be signing officers to a contract. Right now, they don't have one. He added that there will be tough decisions to make about how to handle the village's $400,000 budget deficit, but that hurdle will come after elections, when new officials may be in office.