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Impacts Of Reform Felt By Smaller Departments

The impact of New York state’s bail reform measures are starting to be felt by police departments large and small in the first few weeks of 2020.

Following a meeting of the Carroll Town Board on Wednesday evening, Carroll Police Chief Bill Nelson spoke on his recent experience with the changes.

“That is the big issue I’m finding now is if we have a case, as simple as a vehicle traffic case for aggravated unlicensed operation, that now requires me for that traffic ticket to make a case in the computer system,” said Nelson. “Which I have to do because I don’t have records people, the (district attorney’s) office needs access to the case, and then I’ve got to forward them all of the paper associated with that.

Then I have to go into our system and identify the body camera footage for that vehicle traffic stop, and send that to the DA’s office. That is just me at a part-time agency, I can’t imagine the difficulties that full-time agencies are having.”

For Nelson, the primary issue is dealing with an increasing workload in the office, which can be a challenge for a part-time department that still wants to keep its officers active in the community.

“So it is an impact on me because I’m the only one who does anything clerical or chief-related, it’s me. I don’t have support staff for that and I want my guys out on the road, I don’t want them having to do that,” Nelson said. “So it has had an impact but certainly not like it would be with the Sheriff’s Office or Jamestown Police Department, even Lakewood-Busti or Ellicott. Those agencies, I can’t imagine how they are keeping up with all of it. I can keep my head above water but it’s one more thing that I have to do to. It keeps me inside more. I like to, when I’m working, get outside a little bit and patrol too, but I have to make sure that stuff is done first.”

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