Putnam Sheriff Promises Alert System

Also, Philipstown will create food-scrap collection site

Putnam County Sheriff Kevin McConville last week announced a new alert system to warn local officials of serious incidents that could affect them and their communities.

As an example, he cited major traffic accidents on Route 9D.

The Cold Spring resident and former chief of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority police took office in January after defeating another Philipstown resident, then-Sheriff Robert Langley Jr., in the November election. 

Addressing the Philipstown Town Board on Feb. 3 during its formal monthly meeting at Town Hall, McConville noted that the county Bureau of Emergency Services already sends alerts about potential threats such as pending severe weather. Nonetheless, he said, “we felt it was important for us as a law enforcement agency to dive a little bit deeper and go a little bit farther” and “get information out in a timely and accurate manner” more broadly.

He said the Sheriff’s Department is developing a system to alert local officials quickly by phone and email. 

School districts and highway departments likewise will be alerted and the department plans to unveil a school safety initiative in the spring, he said. 

“We’re here to be a partner, and that’s what we’re going to be,” McConville said.

Philipstown Supervisor John Van Tassel, who also took office in January, said that already, the town and Sheriff’s Department “have been in touch a lot. It’s been amazing to have the open line of communication that we do have. I appreciate the outreach. The more information everybody has, the safer it is for everybody.”

Late in the meeting, the five-member Town Board unanimously authorized adoption of an agreement with the Village of Cold Spring allowing their highway departments to fill in for each other in snow and ice removal if either is short-staffed. 

Van Tassel noted that over the last weekend of January, the town Highway Department salted Cold Spring streets when two village trucks malfunctioned. “It’s nice to work with our neighbors,” he said.

The agreement, approved by the Cold Spring Village Board on Wednesday (Feb. 9), continues until April 15. 

The board also scheduled a public hearing for March 3 on adopting, as town law, state provisions known as the NYStretch Code fostering environmentally friendly building practices.

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority estimates that adhering to NYStretch standards makes buildings 10 percent to 12 percent more energy efficient, reducing pollution and the consumption of oil, natural gas and electricity. Implementing NYStretch involves using more efficient insulation, windows and lighting, accommodating electric vehicles and similar adaptations. 

Van Tassel said the Philipstown code already reflects NYStretch principles, so “it’s not going to be a big change” if the town adopts them formally. The standards also enhance the town’s ability to obtain grants.

In other business, at a workshop on Wednesday (Feb. 9), the Town Board unanimously approved creating a program to collect food scraps for composting. Van Tassel said a collection point can be set up at the town recycling site on Lane Gate Road. He promised it would generate no stench and “there will be no rats, no raccoons running around.”

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