With what has been shown to be a contentious issue, Greenwich Village Council adopted an ordinance on its third and final reading at its recent meeting to accept the donation of a trained electronic storage detection K9. Greenwich Mayor Wes Sallee has to cast the tie-breaking vote for passage.
Like past meetings, a number of people were at the council meeting to talk about some council opposition to the donation.
Dick Kuhlman is a long-time Greenwich resident and former police officer. He said he had a couple of observations and was directing his comments to council members Mike Lloyd and Jason Hunter.
“From what I gather from what I read in the paper,” Kuhlman said, “you seem to have some sort of an issue with our police department. You stated they are not doing their job. What is their job?
Hunter said his displeasure is not his alone.
“We get a lot of complaints as councilmen,” Hunter pointed out. “That’s fine, but 99% of the ones I hear are about the police department. I’ve had a great relationship with the chief.”
Kuhlman said complaining about the police department is nothing new.
“I put up with the same thing 45 years ago,” he explained. “Nothing’s really changed. Any municipality hat you go to, the police are being scrutinized. They are out there. They are in view.”
Hunter said the police are being scrutinized because of vandalism and thefts in the village. Some of the complaints are the same over and over in time.
“I’m a law enforcement guy,” Hunter pointed out.
“It doesn’t show in here,” Kuhlman said in response citing recent news coverage of village council meetings. “This is all I have to go by.”
Hunter said law enforcement has his total support.
“I’m for the program,” he pointed out. “I never had to be sold on that. For me, it’s if it is the right town or not. That’s all it’s coming down to.”
Kuhlman acknowledged the small size of the village. Several council members have spoken out about the need for the dog in such a small department.
“We’re a rural area,” Kulhman noted. “Don’t think for one minute these pedophiles aren’t out there.”
Hunter brought up several incidents where he feels the police department has done nothing. Greenwich Police Chief Steve Dorsey told Hunter this was not the time to discuss some issues he has had in the past. Dorsey asked Hunter to come in to see him and review the information and evidence the police department does have concerning those incidents.
Hunter said the K9 was to be supported completely by donations.
“I don’t see that actually happening,” he pointed out. “I really don’t know that we can afford the police that we have. A lot of people tell me they would like the Sheriff’s Department. I support the police department.”
“Don’t let your emotions, your vindictiveness cloud your decision,” Kulhman said to Hunter.
Since the last council meeting, Hunter said he has talked to around 30 people involved in 20 conversations concerning the issue.
“None of them are for the dog,” he pointed out. “This isn’t just my thinking.”
Kuhlman pointed out he is retired and talks to people in the village. He said no one has ever mentioned the issue.
Hunter cited other municipalities such as North Fairfield and Shiloh that have contracted with their Sheriff’s Departments for law enforcement.
“I didn’t say I was for eliminating the police department,” Hunter said. “Most people I’m talking to...”
“That’s what it looks like here,” Kuhlman said holding a newspaper.
Kulhman said the dog will not cost the village anything. He cited the training and program that provides the K9 as a good tool for law enforcement.
“Let’s get the dog,” Kuhlman stated.
Kelly Tallman also spoke in favor of the K9. She expressed her concern for the adjudication of pedophiles, noting that many times a lack of conviction is due to a lack of evidence.
“Why wouldn’t we want a dog like that?” Tallman pointed out. “Why not put Greenwich on the map? I hope you guys find it in your hearts to really dig deep and put all your feelings aside. Think about what this dog could do for our community.”
The final vote was council members Lynne Phillips and Mike King voting in favor of the donation. Council members Jason Hunter and Mike Lloyd voting against the measure. Travis Wilson and Randy Wilson were absent from the council meeting.
Sallee said it was his duty as mayor to break the tie. He did by voting to accept the donation of the K9 and cruiser.