On August 20, Chief Ed Moore issued a press release about a man from Greenport who had become violent when being arrested for illegally trying to remove his car from an impound lot in Hudson. The press release indicated that the man had kicked several officers, injuring one officer's hand, tried to kick out the window of a patrol car, and caused damage to the passenger door of the vehicle. At the police station, he damaged the holding cell by repeatedly kicking the door. The press release ended with this statement from Chief Moore: “I wish for the speedy recovery of my officer. She and her fellow officers were kicked, spit on, and verbally abused but kept their composure and contained a violent situation."
That same day, Gossips received information from a source wishing to remain anonymous that City Hall was in lockdown because someone had threatened the mayor, the chief, and employees in the city clerk's office. Chief Moore confirmed that this was the same person who had been arrested. He had threatened the chief and his officers, saying "I'm gonna kill a cop," and had threatened violence against the city clerk's staff. The report Gossips received alleged that the man had threatened to "knock out teeth and splatter brains."
Last night, a resolution came before the Common Council to "solicit proposals from security firms to provide security services to City Hall"--not unreasonable given the incident that occurred in August. Apparently, there have been a number of incidents that have made the clerks feel insecure. The resolution was a new resolution, one that had not been introduced at the informal meeting, and, given that all the standing committees have been eliminated, it was not a resolution that had been discussed in committee before being introduced to the Council. Jeff Baker, counsel to the Council, explained that the resolution had come from the mayor's office.
Although the resolution was never discussed in a public meeting, it seems there had been some prior discussion among Council members. Alderman Tiffany Garriga (Second Ward) said she thought the police "would come by every hour." Alderman Rebecca Wolff made a motion to table the resolution. Baker explained, "This is just to go out and find out what it would cost." Wolff countered, "We haven't determined what the services would be."
The motion to table the resolution was defeated, with four members (Garriga, Wolff, Shershah Mizan, and Malachi Walker) voting in favor of tabling the resolution, and five members (Dominic Merante, John Rosenthal, Dewan Sarowar, Ryan Wallace, and Council president Tom DePietro) voting against tabling the resolution.
At some point in the conversation that followed the vote on tabling, Garriga seemed to suggest that security for City Hall might be provided by volunteers. She asked Baker for his opinion about whether or not security was needed. Baker replied, "I don't work in the building." Alderman John Rosenthal (Fourth Ward) declared, "This is deeply embarrassing. Putting this off for a month shows a lack of understanding." He went on to say, "Anyone who has been in government for five minutes should know that hiring a private security guard would probably be less expensive than covering it with the police department."
Before calling for a vote on the resolution, Council president Tom DePietro reiterated, "It was the mayor's office that asked for this." The resolution passed with only Garriga voting no and Wolff abstaining. After the vote, Wolff asked if this would apply to the DMV as well, suggesting by her question that she was unaware there was already a security officer at 560 Warren Street and that Department of Motor Vehicles was part of county government not city government.
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