MALONE –– One of the newest members of the Village Police Department has had a big impact on the local criminal justice scene since coming onto active duty a little over a year ago, Police Chief Chris Premo told the Village Board on Monday
During that time, the new officer had 59 call-outs for service, with 21 narcotics seizures totaling 24.9 grams of cocaine, 2 grams of meth and two bindles of heroin, as well as numerous suboxone strips “subsequent to search,” Premo said. The officer also “was involved in the seizure of $63,359 in cash,” Premo said.
The rookie Premo was describing is K-9 McKee, a Belgian Malinois/German shepherd mix who went on patrol in November 2018 after completing 10 weeks of training in Massachusetts along with his partner, Greg Pecore. McKee came to Malone as part of a $21,000 award through the Stanton Foundation, which assists municipal police departments in establishing a police dog program or reviving one that has been inactive for at least five years.
The idea of reinstating the police department’s K-9 program was first introduced in April 2018 and was tied in part to an uptick in local drug crime in recent years.
Premo’s paudits for McKee were part of the chief’s summary of his department’s activities in 2019 delivered to the Village Board. He also outlined several other year end totals for trustees, including a significant drop in driving while intoxicated arrests and the success of the department’s new parking ticket program.
“The parking ticket program paid for itself,” Premo said.
It has been roughly a year since the village police department took the parking ticket program back from Malone Town Court.
“We saw a significant increase in revenue to $7,480,” Premo said.
Premo also reported a significant drop in DWI arrests over the past year, from 50 in 2018 to 16 in 2019. The 2018 totals represented a spike in DWI arrests, having jumped from 36 the prior year.
The chief credited improved education about the dangers and costs of driving under the influence with helping drive down the total ––a trend he said is occurring across the state. He also noted the absence of bars in Malone –– as opposed to restaurants that serve alcohol –– as a possible contributing factor to the decline.
In all, the Malone Village Police Department answered 4,100 calls for service in 2019, which marked an increase from 3,740 calls in 2018.
The department made a total of 807 arrests and issued 1,123 uniform traffic tickets and 251 parking tickets, he said.
Village Mayor Andrea Dumas lauded Premo’s department for a job well done.
“You guys have had a great year,” she said.
“Let’s see what the new year brings,” said the chief, one of a number of law enforcement officials who has been outspoken in his opposition to the new state bail reform law.