BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Some state lawmakers are asking whether upstate areas — like Western New York — are left with adequate staffing in the wake of the state troopers being deployed to the New York City area.
According to the State Police, troopers have been deployed to protect vital state-owned assets downstate in addition to helping implement cashless tolling.
State Senator Patrick Gallivan, R-Elma, a former State Police captain and Erie County sheriff, says a New York Times report about the deployments raises some concerns.
“They go there and they’re paid travel. They’re paid an incredible amount of overtime. And then the troopers in the rest of upstate are replacing those troopers at overtime. They’re backfilling with overtime. That’s just something that you can’t ultimately sustain,” Gallivan tells News 4.
“I have a concern about the areas that we live in and the rest of the areas that depend on the State Police. My concern is that the citizens are properly served,” he added.
Last month, State Senator Terrence Murphy, a Hudson Valley Republican and chair of the Investigations and Government Operations committee, wrote a letter to the State Police superintendent requesting information about staffing levels.
“…with an annual attrition rate of more than 200 members and a scheduled State Police academy class of fewer than 150 individuals, we are greatly concerned that the newly announced deployments will require the reassignment of troopers from upstate, and the diversion of newly graduated Troopers to fill the ranks of the urban task forces, the letter stated.
During a phone interview with News 4, Murphy said, “We’re going to keep a close eye on it. And if we need to enter more people into the academy from next January to June so be it.”
Since 2012, eight sessions of the Basic School have been held and 1,518 new troopers have graduated.
Those sessions have enabled the State Police to meet attrition, according to the agency, and reinforce operations statewide.
A new class of 225 troopers starts next month.
According to the New York Times report, close to 200 troopers were assigned to New York City — and that global terror threats had forced the state police to expand its presence in the city.
The State Police would not supply specific numbers on deployments, citing safety and security issues.
State troopers are positioned at the MTA bridges and tunnels in the city to provide additional security for the crossings. They’re also there to support the MTA’s cashless tolling initiative.
The State Police have a wider jurisdiction and direct access to additional resources which helps in the apprehension of individuals flagged by license plate readers.
The State Police superintendent deployed troopers to JFK and LaGuardia airports in January following the mass shooting at the airport in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and after discussions with the Port Authority and the NYPD.
Troopers are deployed in the public areas of the terminals.
“To be clear, our priority is the safety and security of all New Yorkers and as such, these deployments are supported by $41 million in dedicated funding and have not impacted service in any other region in the state,” said Beau Duffy, director of public information for the State Police.