More Arrests Signal Success in Village
By Jeanne Sager
MONTICELLO November 27, 2007 There’s always a silver lining.
Arrests have risen past the 1,400 mark so far this year for the Monticello Police Department the most ever.
But numbers can be deceiving.
“Proactive policing is way up,” explained Chief Doug Solomon. “Our drug arrests are like triple what they were in the past.
“With search warrants, we have doubled our efforts, getting drug dealers off the streets,” he continued. “A lot of that is not reacting it’s being proactive.”
So more than 1,400 arrests doesn’t mean more crime. It doesn’t mean more criminals.
It simply means more arrests more bad guys behind bars.
“We’re shaking the tree,” Solomon said simply.
The chief of one of the county’s busiest police departments has been keeping careful track of crime patterns in his village.
“For probably five or six years, we saw the gang activity,” he explained. “That doesn’t always necessarily manifest itself in crime, but eventually it’s gonna it’s not the Boy Scouts.”
Impact of Impact
Solomon had two choices watch and wait for the inevitable or watch and strike.
He chose the latter.
He talked to District Attorney Steve Lungen who in turn talked to the folks in the state’s criminal justice division.
They suggested Solomon put in for state funds under the IMPACT Tools grant program.
Created by the state to extend a program already focused on counties adjacent to Sullivan including Orange the IMPACT Tools grants were opened up to 40 counties.
Applicants were required to show a documented need, ability to administer the project and a proposed strategy.
Solomon’s proposal earned the village $60,000 to put an aggressive plan into action.
Beginning earlier this year, his officers began receiving help from the New York State Police including undercover agents and troopers specifically assigned to the Monticello Police Department to work under Solomon.
The results have been staggering.
“In ’05 and ’06, crimes involving guns were way off the hook,” Solomon recalled.
This year, 22 handguns have been pulled off the streets.
“That’s like two a month,” Solomon explained, “where we had gotten so over the last few years we had an average of some kind of shooting once a week.”
Fewer guns has meant fewer gun crimes.
In 2006, there were seven gunshot victims for Monticello Police to deal with.
This year there’s been just one.
Nothing is perfect, Solomon admitted.
There is still crime.
“Sometimes, it’s like shoveling sand on the beach,” he said with a sigh.
“But we’re the doing the job,” he continued. “You can see the difference.”