Seneca Falls Police
Town of Seneca Falls
October 7, 2014
Submitted by: Chief Stuart W. Peenstra
In the month of September 2014, the Seneca Falls Police Department handled 672 calls for service. Of these 672 calls for service, 61 resulted in criminal arrests. The Seneca Falls Police Department responded to 25 traffic accidents. SFPD also conducted 158 traffic stops for the month of September with 64 traffic tickets issued and 4 Driving While Intoxicated arrests.
In comparing September 2013 to September of 2014, calls for service were down 8% (733/672); criminal arrests were down 14% (71/61); traffic arrests were down 65% (186/64); traffic accidents were down 32% (37/25); and Driving While Intoxicated arrests were down 50% (8/4).
The Seneca Falls Police Department was assisted by outside law enforcement agencies on 42 calls for service and assisted other outside law enforcement agencies on 14 calls for service in the month of September 2014.
Criminal Investigation Division
During September of 2014 the Criminal Investigation Division of the Seneca Falls Police Department arrested 2 individuals on 1 Felony and 1 misdemeanor charges. CID completed several interviews during the month of September 2014 and was assigned approximately 17 new cases. 4 Of these cases are closed, 1 case being closed by arrest. Included in the 17 cases were 3 road patrol assists and 3 Seneca County Narcotics Unit assists. CID also received subpoena(s) and testified in multiple Seneca County Grand proceedings. CID traveled to the Monroe County Medical Examiner’s Office, Bivona Child Advocacy Center, and Strong Memorial Hospital on cases from September of 2014.
CID was scheduled for training in September of 2014 that was cancelled due to investigative case load. Sergeant / Investigator Michael Petrocci assisted CID in September of 2014 and he has not officially been transferred to CID.
On 09/11/2014, Chief Peenstra attended a seminar on the topic of Policing the Cyber World and Third-Party Sales to Minors. This seminar was held at the Doubletree Hotel in Syracuse, NY. Topics discussed were how to access social websites to gather information regarding underage alcohol problems and what can be done with this information, exploring the issues of admissibility and case preparation for prosecutions through online investigations, discussion on existing laws that can serve as tools to address third-party sales, enforcement for preventing sales, and how to increase local and political support. This training was 8hrs.
On 09/19/2014, Chief Peenstra completed a 1.5 hr. webinar on the topic of Supreme Court Update: Recent Rulings and Impact on Law Enforcement. The webinar focused on review of cases which directly impact the use of force application, vehicle pursuits and searches of cell phones.
Seneca Falls PD Achieves NYS DCJS Accreditation
On September 18, 2014 the Seneca Falls Police Department received the prestigious New York State Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) “Accreditation” standard at a ceremony in Albany NY. The Accreditation process recognizes professionalism in law enforcement by establishing standards of performance.
On July 8th – 10th 2014 the Seneca Falls Police Department underwent a 3 day onsite assessment conducted by 3 New York State DCJS Accreditation Assessors. In the report generated by the Accreditation Assessment Team to the Accreditation Council “The Seneca Falls Police Department has done an excellent job in its efforts to implement program standards. The Chief and the entire Department should be commended for moving so quickly towards Accreditation after being merged into a new Town Police Department only two years prior to the assessment.”
The DCJS accreditation program is designed to help Police Agencies evaluate and improve their overall performance and provide formal recognition that the organization meets or exceeds general expectations of quality in the field. Among all New York State Police Agencies, only 20 percent have successfully completed the accreditation process.
It aims to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of New York State law enforcement agencies by utilizing existing personnel, equipment and facilities; promoting increased cooperation and coordination among law-enforcement and criminal-justice agencies; ensuring appropriate training of personnel, and adopting Best Practices, policies and procedures that meet these mandatory standards. Agencies participating in the accreditation program must meet or exceed 133 standards in administration, training and operations.
Accreditation is awarded following an on-site assessment by an independent team of assessors. The DCJS committee that awards accreditation to agencies includes representatives from the New York State Chiefs’ and Sheriffs’ Association, the State Police Superintendent, New York City Police Commissioner, an official from a statewide police labor organization, an incumbent police officer, a deputy sheriff and a college criminal-justice professor. Other members represent the Association of Counties, Association of Towns, Conference of Mayors and State Senate and Assembly.
Benefits of completing the program include identifying and correcting procedural deficiencies, developing proactive management systems, reducing the likelihood of liability litigation and securing community, local and state government support.
US DOJ COPS Funding
On June 24, 2014 the Seneca Falls Police Department with the assistance of the Town of Seneca Falls grant writers (J. O’Connell and Associates) submitted a Federal grant through the U.S Department of Justice (US DOJ) Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) for funding to establish a School Resource Officer (SRO) position for the Seneca Falls School District.
On October 29, 2014 the Seneca Falls Police Department was advised by the COPS Office that we were not chosen to receive this grant. The COPS Office received 1,296 CHP applications requesting over 3,469 officers and $425 million in funds, while $123 million was available for the program. Ultimately, COPS was able to fund only 215 (17%) of the 1,296 CHP requests received during the 2014 solicitation.
The Seneca Falls Police Department ranked very high in its 3rd consecutive attempt to achieve this grant. SFPD received a final score of 120. This score ranked us 5th out of 26 agencies in New York that applied.
3 New York agencies were awarded funding in 2014:
1. City of Newburgh with a score of 141
2. City of Troy with a score of 135
3. Livingston County Sheriff’s Dept. with a score of 132
The Seneca Falls Police Department is interested in establish an SRO program to help increase positive relationships with the students, teachers and parents throughout the community. This position would increase the safety of the students and staff, thus reducing crime. The SRO would proactively address pressures and problems before they become socially and legally unacceptable.
The Seneca Falls Police Department has strong written support from the following:
Congressman Richard Hanna
Congressman Tom Reed
Assemblyman Brian Kolb
Senator Michael Nozzolio
Seneca Falls Community Center
Seneca Falls School District
Seneca Falls Business Association
Finger Lakes Christian Fellowship
For more information on the CHP announcement, please visit our dedicated CHP applicant web page at http://cops.usdoj.gov/Default.asp?Item=2367
DCJS Office of Program Development & Funding Grant
In August of 2013 the Seneca Falls Police Department worked with the Seneca County District Attorney’s Office on applying for a grant through the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, Office of Program Development & Funding for funding to the Seneca County District Attorneys for the purchase of video recording equipment for capturing statements to police and/or prosecutors. The Video Recording of Statements Program is part of the Division of Criminal Justice Services’ (DCJS) comprehensive strategy to reduce crime in New York State.
On November 18 2013 Governor Cuomo announced nearly $700,000 in Funding to Local Law Enforcement to Purchase Video Interrogation Equipment which included $5,000 to the Seneca County District Attorney’s Office for the Seneca Falls Police Department.
The Seneca Falls Police Department is asking the Town Board to front the budgeted cost for this equipment. It was determined by both agencies that “Linstar” would be the preferred vendor for this equipment through state bid. Total cost for this equipment including training and installation would be $5,051.27. The approved grant in non-matching and once purchased and submitted would reimburse $5,000. The remaining $51.27 would come from the budgeted “Equipment” line item. Recording statements is a sure fire way to dissuade constitutional or human rights lawsuits/complaints against counties and law enforcement agencies in New York State. It also helps to increase the likelihood of successful prosecutions and thus, less successful defenses.
On September 26, 2014 Senator Michael Nozzolio made a request to the New York State Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) for a special, one-time $10,000 grant for the Seneca Falls Police Department. Description of the Project consists of: Funding for equipment and programs to assist with anti-drug and anti-crime efforts.
The grant application process is expected to take several weeks. I will report back to the board once DCJS makes a determination.
New Civil Service Rule Regarding Part-Time Police Officers for
Seneca Falls PD
On May 15, 2012, Chief Stuart Peenstra of the Town of Seneca Falls Police Department, Seneca County Personnel Officer Kathy Corona, and Supervisor Don Earl attended a public hearing before the State Civil Service Commission in Albany requesting a resolution to amend the Appendices of the Seneca County Civil Service Rules which Appendices included non-competitive class for Town of Seneca Falls Part-Time Police Officers. (Civil Service Law Section 58) The State Civil Service Commission disapproved this request.
In April of 2014 Supervisor Earl and Town Board Members sent a letter, requesting Senator Michael Nozzolio and Assemblyman Brian Kolb’s assistance in securing passage for special legislation by the New York State Legislature allowing the Town of Seneca Falls to hire persons for permanent appointment as part-time police officers who are not eligible to hold competitive Civil Service status.
On June 17, 2014 Bill S7267-2013 passed the Senate and on June 19, 2014 the bill passed the Assembly. On September 11, 2014 the Bill was delivered to the Governor’s desk for final approval. On September 23, 2014 Senate Bill 7267 was enacted into law by Governor Cuomo. The new section of law superseding Civil Service Law Section 58 for the Town of Seneca Falls pertains to Chapter 395.
Civil Service Law Section 58 substantially reduces the number of certified Part-Time Police Officers the Seneca Falls Police Department could consider for part time positions. Provisions to a smaller Town Police department such as ours were especially burdensome as the town was being forced to hire and train non-certified applicants for part-time positions.
This special legislation expands the pool of officers available to our Town Police Department for part time duty and reduces the expense of training new part time officers.
The Seneca Falls Police Department would like to give special thanks to Senator Mike Nozzolio; Assemblyman Brian Kolb; Seneca County Personnel Director Kathy Corona; and the Town of Seneca Falls Public Safety Committee consisting of Supervisor Earl and Councilman Bove for their hard work and diligence.
More information and documentation can be obtained by going to: