Officer: ‘Everybody seems to be more agitated’
Officer-in-Charge Larry Burke’s monthly report to the Cold Spring Village Board is usually pretty routine, with tallies of traffic and parking tickets, the number of calls from residents and requests for assistance received from first responders.
But on Wednesday (July 13), his report included something darker.
“June 17 was a busy evening for Officer Matthew Jackson,” Burke said, noting that Jackson had just located a missing person when a call came in about someone brandishing a firearm.
Burke said that after two vehicles, headed in opposite directions, had a minor collision on Route 9D near the Breakneck tunnel, the driver of the northbound car made a U-turn and pursued the other vehicle into Cold Spring. Both drivers pulled into the parking lot at the softball diamond across from the Haldane athletic field.
That’s when the pursuing driver got out of his car and tapped on the window of the other vehicle, displaying a handgun, Burke said.
The other driver called 911. When he arrived at the scene about a minute later, Jackson secured the weapon and placed the man under arrest.
The suspect, whom Burke identified as Scott Morrow of Beacon, was taken into custody by Putnam County Sheriff’s deputies when they arrived on the scene. A news release issued on Thursday by the department said the southbound vehicle was driven by an 18-year-old Cold Spring woman. It said she was passing another southbound car when her side mirror struck Morrow’s side mirror, sending debris into his car’s open window that struck him.
Morrow was charged with felony criminal possession of a weapon and misdemeanor menacing. He was arraigned in the Village of Nelsonville Court and remanded to the Putnam County Jail on $10,000 bail.
The other driver was charged with misdemeanor reckless driving and issued tickets for moving from a lane unsafely and leaving the scene of an accident. The investigation showed she had passed the other vehicle in a no-passing zone.
At Wednesday’s meeting, Burke said incidents of road rage are becoming all too common. “It’s getting very heated,” he said. “I don’t know why people are so fired up.”
Burke said recently, after stopping a car at a Main Street crosswalk, a Cold Spring officer was approached aggressively by people not involved in the incident. “He had people coming up to him, asking questions and saying, ‘I have to get through,’ and ‘You’re blocking me,’ and ‘This is ridiculous,’ ” Burke said.
On a recent weekend, Burke said drivers expressed their displeasure with him for issuing them summonses, even though their registrations had expired, sometimes by as long as six months. “Everybody seems to be more agitated,” he said.
Mayor Kathleen Foley asked Burke how officers deescalate tense situations. “It’s experience,” he said. “They try to deescalate with their voice, the positioning of their bodies to not look overwhelming, and to not jump at somebody.”
Burke said he is very satisfied with the roster of Cold Spring Police Department officers, including recent hires. “They like to walk the beat; they’re friendly, engaging and are doing an excellent job,” he said. “Our guys are good at trying to keep everybody on an even keel.”
Burke also reported vandalism at Mayor’s Park, which has become a chronic problem. This time it included graffiti and damage to newly refurbished picnic tables. With only one officer on duty at a time, it is difficult to catch vandals in the act, especially at night, he said.
A motion detector that triggers a bright spotlight has been installed, which he hopes will alert the officer or residents.
Foley said village staff has to spend a lot of time responding to vandalism. “It’s disrespectful,” she said. “You don’t get to destroy community property and have no consequences.” She asked anyone with information to contact Burke.
In other business …
- The board approved a letter of support for a grant application by the Hudson River Fjord Trail to the state parks department to rehabilitate the former Dutchess Manor on Route 9D. The building will serve as a visitor center. “For the village, this is a good thing,” Foley said. “It takes the landing spot [for trail users] farther north,” away from Cold Spring.
- The village will participate in a Clean Energy Communities program run by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) that will allow it to receive grants for projects in village-owned buildings.
- The village is working with the Town of Philipstown to add an electric-vehicle charging station at the municipal parking lot on Fair Street.
- The Planning Board is reviewing an application for 37 Chestnut St. that would see the former Grey Printing shop converted to a dance studio. Chair Jack Goldstein also said a presentation by representatives of the Hudson River Fjord Trail has been rescheduled for Aug. 11.
- The Cold Spring Fire Co. answered 23 calls in June, including six mutual aids, five assists to ambulance crews, four activated fire alarms, two structure fires, two elevator rescues, a lawn mower fire, a vehicle fire, a car crash and a marine incident.
- Cold Spring police officers made three arrests — two related to the June 17 incident and one in response to a warrant. Officers also answered 69 calls for service and issued 10 traffic and 73 parking tickets. Burke said the license-plate readers installed at three highway entrances to the village have been temporarily removed for maintenance.
- Sidewalk repairs are scheduled to begin this week on Parrott Street at Pine. Repairs are also planned for parts of Garden Street, the corner of Northern Avenue and Church Street, Depot Square and Academy Street.
- Metro-North construction crews will assist with treating the leaks that have plagued the pedestrian tunnel. The unexpected help is the result of the village allowing Metro-North to store equipment at the highway department yard.
Is there a reason the name of the 18-year-old Cold Spring woman is not mentioned in this article?
The Sheriff’s Office declined to release either name but the Cold Spring Police Department provided the name of the male driver. Even if the woman’s name had been released, we typically only identify people charged with serious crimes, e.g., felonies, as outlined in our editorial standards.