The Orangetown Council voted unanimously Tuesday to authorize Police Chief Kevin Nulty to assign an officer full time to the Drug Enforcement Agency Narcotics Task Force.
"We will participate and receive money from drug seizures by the DEA," Orangetown Councilman Tom Diviny said. "Other departments with one officer assigned have received upwards of $1.5 million.
"Also, there is a prescription pill problem in Orangetown. With an officer there full time, he can make sure Orangetown is on theri radar. I'm glad everyone supports it. I'm glad we're going to put someone on the task force."
Diviny said that the town would be hiring an additional police officer to take the place of the one on the task force. Diviny said the potential seizure money brought in to the town would be enough to offset the cost of an additional salary.
"Just with somebody on a part-time basis, we've brought in enough money to pay for two officers," Diviny said. "We definitely want to get someone from the county list and hire another officer to take over for this officer."
Nulty said that Orangetown had placed officers with the DEA full time in the past.
"We had somebody assigned there in the '90s and early 2000s," Nulty said. "We're lucky. We have a couple of agents (in the DEA) from here in town. WE're hoping that having an officer assigned from Orangetown, he'll dig up cases around here."
Though Nulty pointed that there could be a short-term cost to the move in overtime, he supports it.
"We had 100 officers when we first had a guy there. Now we have 80," Nulty said. "There are other priorities such as trying to keep overtime under control. If the town board has the vision to see that by next year we may get substantial money and that would help us make our budget, I support that. If it doesn't come to be, I guess we'll have to revisit this."
Nulty said the advantage of placing an officer with the DEA rather than the county task force is that they deal with larger cases, which can bring in more seizure money.
Nulty said he has an idea who the officer would be. Diviny said that he spoke with CEA Agent Chris Roberts, an Orangetown resident, and suggested somebody that would be there long term.
"He said he wants someone who is going to bring lots of energy and someone who wants to work 40-50 hours a week," Diviny said. "Somebody who will be around 20 or 30 years. I's something we consider when we look at who we should put in that position."
"I think it it has to be a very experienced guy," Nulty said.