Police union takes out ad attacking budget cuts

The ad from Tuesday's Post-Standard / photo: Brian Erb

Onondaga County Sheriff's deputies hope a newspaper advertisement will sway public opinion, and persuade Onondaga County legislators not to cut their budget.

T he full page ad in Tuesday's Syracuse Post-Standard features a typical family and warns that proposed budget cuts "threaten your safety." The Onondaga County Sheriff's Police Association, which paid for the ad, claims county legislators intend to eliminate the department's helicopter, cut out money for bulletproof vests, ammo and police cars, and lay off 14 road patrol deputies.

Association President Brian Crowley says "we feel they're being irresponsible to the citizens of the county. ..W e have fewer bodies to cover more calls, crime rate is on the rise."

C ounty lawmakers say the cuts to the Sheriff's Office were difficult , but they also claim that the Sheriff's budget has dramatically increased in the past ten years. According to figures provided by the legislature's staff, in 2001 the Sheriff's budget totaled $36.3 million. This year the department wants $66.1 million, which would represent an increase of 82 percent over ten years.

"W e picked what we thought we could pick that was least of an impact." Republican floor leader Richard Lesniak told CNY Central's Jim Kenyon. Lesniak says he's confident the cuts will not affect public safety.

Lesniak says the State Police helicopter and Mercy Flight can replace the service offered by Air One. But Crowley points out that only Air One operates at night and is best equipped for rescue and fire fighting operations in addition to crime fighting.

T he ad lists the address and phone number of every county lawmaker, and promotes a public hearing on the budget Thursday evening at 7:00 at the Oncenter.


In an effort to block cuts to the Onondaga County Sheriff's Department budget, the Deputy Sheriff's Police Association has taken out a full page ad in Tuesday's edition of the Syracuse Post-Standard.

The ad, which appeared in Tuesday's edition, says "don't let proposed budget cuts threaten your safety." The ad refers to efforts by Onondaga County legislators to cut $1.76 million from the Sheriff's Department budget. The ad claims the lawmakers will do away with deputies "which could lead to slower response times."

The ad also warns of proposals to eliminate Air One, the Sheriff's helicopter, and cuts to "bulletproof vests, ammo and police cars." It urges people to "speak out" at a public hearing on the budget slated for October 7th at the Oncenter at 7:00 pm.

When asked about the proposed cuts to the Sheriff's Department on Friday, Onondaga County Legislature Chairman James Rhinehart told CNY Central's Jim Kenyon the county "has to get back to a basic level of public service."

Rhinehart pointed out that the Sheriff's Department's budget has "doubled" in the last ten years.