The Village of East Syracuse held a public hearing Wednesday night regarding their proposal to abolish the East Syracuse Police Department, and those against the proposal stole the show.
First, before the meeting commenced they marched throughout East Syracuse wearing blue and carrying signs in support of their police department, creating a crowd in front of St. Matthew's gymnasium, where the meeting was held.
The gym was filled from the start, and the people waited in a stiff silence as the Village presented their proposed plan to abolish the police department. Robert Antonacci, Onondaga County Comptroller, presented the financial aspect of the proposed abolishment, saying that East Syracuse residents with a home assessed at $100,000 would save $249 a year in taxes.
Officials stated that if the proposal were to go through, Town of DeWitt Police would absorb East Syracuse, and DeWitt Police Chief Eugene Conway explained the different services and patrols the DeWitt Police would bring to East Syracuse.
East Syracuse Mayor Danny Liedka was the last to speak before the public took over, saying, "We're here to talk about how we can change our direction, because I can assure you if we don't we'll be talking about this village going away."
That's when dozens of angry East Syracuse residents and business owners took turns speaking their displeasure about the proposal. Many said that they didn't care about the money they'd be saving, and would pay the money for the police force that they've grown to love.
"The PowerPoint presentations and those types of things, that's for politicians," Scott Ions, an East Syracuse resident, says. "That's not for people because they can hide or fix numbers."
A few were even in tears as they recalled incidents where the East Syracuse police were involved, making a lasting good impression on those involved with their issue.
"East Syracuse police are for the community," Wanda Maengwa, an East Syracuse resident, says. "They know the community, they know all the residences. They know who belongs in what house or if there is something wrong and somebody doesn't belong there."
Just a few were in support of the abolishment, saying it needed to happen in order for the people to retain the safety and service they live with today.
An official public hearing will take place on October 1, while October 16th has been tentatively scheduled as the date the public will vote on the Village's referendum.