Schiff (standing) explains his concerns to legislators
MONTICELLO – Sullivan County’s population will more than double in the next couple of weeks, as it does every summer, with the influx of thousands of seasonal residents.
Sheriff Michael Schiff told county legislators on Thursday that he “needs bodies.” He is down three positions for the Road Patrol and five positions because of the consolidation of E911.
The spring training academy was cancelled. There is one coming up in the fall. Schiff said even if he gets qualified applicants into that one, they won’t go on line until after the casino opens next spring.
“Casino coming on line March, or that ballpark, 2018, I think it’s imperative that we get up to strength,” he said during the legislature’s Public Safety and Law Enforcement Committee meeting. “We don’t know what’s coming at us. I’ve seen things that I find a little bit concerning.”
Schiff said they are seeing more people they don’t recognize, even in areas tourists don’t normally go.
“I think Sullivan County is on the move. I think people are coming up. They’re looking around. They’re coming up for the weekend. They’re trying the breweries and distilleries. They’re going to Bethel Woods Museum. They’re going to Landers or other venues, rafting on the Delaware. We’ve got people coming up.”
Legislator Nadia Rajsz, whose district includes Lumberland and Highland, both with constables, said Route 97, very busy during the summer, is covered almost exclusively by State Police.
Schiff said it is imperative they stay ahead of the game.
The sheriff cautioned that giving him the “five bodies” he said he needs now isn’t a guaranteed long-term solution, if anyone on the current staff leaves. He noted one deputy is interviewing with State Police.