Leaders of the rapidly growing South Blooming Grove Village are considering creating their own public safety department.

Currently, the upstate New York village is served by the Town of Blooming Grove Police Department.

At their recent public board meeting, the Board authorized special counsel to research the creation of a Public Safety Department in the village.

“This initiative aims to enhance the safety and well-being of village residents to assist the Blooming Grove Police department as needed,” the Village of South Blooming Grove’s Facebook post noted.

Village leaders also weighed the idea of creating a separate police department, claiming the Blooming Grove Police Department is understaffed.

It appears that the heart of the issue is that there is an existing private civilian security organization which Town of Blooming Grove Police Department Chief Kevin Wakeham simply doesn't want to recognize.

Wakeham released a strong letter opposing the plan, saying he was very much sidelined after learning of it.

Wakeham denies the department is understaffed, and claimes that "recent disagreements about policing requests - which have led to the proposed change - are being misinterpreted."

Wakeham's letter acknowledges two recent incidents during which he stated he "disagreed with village leaders."

One instance was for a large private event which is held annually. The department previously provided overtime police services for private events for free, and village leaders requested the same accommodations this year. Wakeham told them that "it is no longer feasible due to the increased number of private events in the village. In that case, village leaders arranged their own private civilian security instead.

The second incident involved providing long-term traffic control at the intersection. When asked for police officers, Wakeham stated he simply didn't have sufficient officers. Village leaders responded by offering to provide private civilian security. Wakeham objected, saying that it wasn't "feasible."

“This is now being interpreted as our police department being understaffed, unprepared and untrained. I couldn’t disagree more,” wrote Wakeham, who didn't explain much more.

"Stay tuned for updates!," stated village leaders.

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