Coast Guard pays for new marine patrol boat

Gwen Chamberlain
From left, Yates County Marine Patrol Officer Pam Housel, NYS Parks and Recreation representative Brian Kempf, and Yates County Sgt. Ed Nemitz with new Brunswick Boston Whaler “Justice” model which will be seen on local waters soon.

Yates County will soon receive a new $110,000 24-ft. boat for the county's marine patrol unit that operates on Seneca, Keuka and Canandaigua Lakes. The boat will be paid for through the New York State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Bureau of Marine Law Enforcement through a U.S. Coast Guard Recreational Boating Safety Grant.

Sheriff Ron Spike told members of the County Legislature's Public Safety Committee on Monday that Yates County is one of seven counties in New York that is receiving a new Brunswick-Boston Whaler "Justice" custom patrol boat complete with outboard motors, trailer, emergency lighting and communications equipment.

At the Aug. 12 Yates County Legislature meeting, legislators will formally accept the boat and will declare a 1998 Sea Swirl boat with outboard motor and Sea Lion trailer as surplus equipment no longer required for service. That boat will be given to the State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Bureau for use as a back-up vessel somewhere along the lower Hudson River region, said Spike at the Aug. 5 Public Safety Committee meeting. That boat was mostly paid for with funds from the state agency.

Spike says the new boat, which will be delivered to the county by the end of the week, will probably last about 20 years.

The value of the 1998 boat is roughly $3,500.

In another matter, Spike discussed a memorandum he sent to legislators in response to a letter to the editor written by legislator candidate Eldon Morrison and published in The Chronicle-Express on July 17.

In the memo, Spike told legislators that Morrison's letter, which was critical of a unanimous decision on July 8 by the legislature to fill a vacant deputy sheriff position, contained misinformation.

Noting that there seems to be frequent comparison of past statistical information with current data, Spike said while the statistical numbers may be accurate, "the definitions of what the number value represents is often misrepresented or misused, and the resulted 'spin' is misleading public information," he wrote.

"I get concerned when there's information that's statistical misinformation. I try to be forthright and truthful," he told legislators at Monday's meeting.

Spike pointed to specific areas in which Morrison was incorrect — the deputy sheriffs are not represented by the Civil Service Employees Assoc., rather, they are represented by Council 82 local 9875.

Spike also said Morrison wrote that there are 28 deputies in the department now, compared to 14 in 1979, but there were two sergeants and 10 deputies in 1979 and in 2011 there were four sergeants and 12 deputies.

"I've never had 28 deputy sheriffs on patrol," Spike said.

Spike also reported on an upcoming round of Homeland Security grant funding he intends to seek which could help pay for communications equipment upgrades.

Other business at the public safety meeting included:

• PROBATION: Probation Director Sharon Dawes, reported on an increased number of juveniles who are considered Persons in Need of Supervision (PINS). "I don't know what's going on but I've never seen this," she said.

County Administrator Sarah Purdy said the increased number of juveniles needing supervision is a statewide trend.

"It's a whole different kid that we're seeing now," Dawes said.

• DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Assistant District Attorney Megan Peter reported on that office's activities, noting a 20 percent increase in felony cases over 2012 in July.

The committee and other legislators adjourned to executive session with Spike and County Attorney Scott Falvey for discussion of possible legal issues.