Elmira/Corning Regional Airport
Residents Concerned Over Possible Police Cuts in Bath
BATH (WENY) -The Village of Bath announced it may need to cut two officers from the Bath Police Department due to budget restraints. Monday night the Bath Fire Department was filled with angry residents demanding answers from the village board.
Just as village trustees were about to discuss cutting more police officers, the Chief of Police, David Rouse announced he will be retiring at the end of October. The chief never said this was a direct correlation to the fiscal crisis in Bath but he wasn't the only one to announce his departure.
More than 150 people attended Mondays board meeting. A majority of them against police cuts, saying they already feel unsafe and want more officers. Within the past few years the department has lost four full-time officers due to cuts.
“We need Bath PD. We need all these police officers. I'm telling you. I sit on my porch and when I see these guys going around the corner, I think oh thank god,” says one resident.
Sargent Taft even went on to say there is a drug war going on in Bath, and cutting more officers will only put the rest of the department in danger. “We don't deserve to work alone in a village of 5,800 people with an ongoing drug war and deal with very dangerous individuals.”
The village board says the tight budget is due to property taxes. 53 percent of the properties are tax-exempt, putting a burden on homeowners.
There was no resolution at Monday nights meeting as to what will happen to the Bath Police Department, but we will continue to follow this story.