MALONE --Four new faces will be greeting people as they come enter the Franklin County Courthouse and the Department of Social Services office on Finney Boulevard in the village of Malone.
The Franklin County District Attorney’s Office has hired four retired corrections officers to provide security at the courthouse and the DSS office. The men were hired after Franklin County Sheriff Kevin Mulverhill pulled his deputies from the detail in a dispute with the county Legislature over cuts to his department’s budget.
“They are all sworn in and they all seem really excited about the opportunity,” said District Attorney Craig Carriero.
Two men each will assigned to the courthouse and the DSS office. They will meet people as they come through the doors, helping to provide directions and security but their official title is “special patrol officers.”
“Two are up and running at the courthouse and the other two are starting (today) at DSS,” said Carriero. The men working at the courthouse must still complete some additional training, he said.
“We are in the process of getting them their shirts and vests, badges and those types of things,” Carriero added.
Funding for the positions is being provided through the DSS office. The $147,000 was originally intended to go to the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department but after Mulverhill pulled security at the locations, the county Legislature moved that responsibility to the District Attorneys Office starting Jan. 11.
The sheriff’s office will receive payment for the service it provided until the new security took over, County Manager Donna Kissane said.
“There will a small portion left to the sheriffs department because they covered a small portion in January,” Kissane said. The sheriff’s share of the allocation will be about $4,000, she said.
The officers at the courthouse will be working at an existing desk near the Department of Motoro Vehicles at the rear entrance to the building that is being modified to provide greater security, including the installation of security glass.
County legislators said they have been working to modify that space for years in order to increase security in the building, which houses a variety of county offices, including the DA’s office and the chambers of the Legislature, as well as the courts. The changes will help to provide better security at the building, for both the people who work there and those who enter the back of the building, legislators said.
“It gives people knowledge that we have security in the building because before you never knew where they were,” said Legislator Andrea Dumas, R-Malone.
Legislature Chairman Donald Dabiew, D-Bombay, said an additional security measure being taken will involve the installation of cameras on all of the doors in the courthouse.
Carriero said the new security personnel will also serve as ambassadors for people visiting the county facilities.
“They all seem very personable, so I think they will be good faces, especially because they will be helping people, and I told them that you might end up being more of a tour guide for people,” said Carriero.