GREENPORT–SSRT is an acronym for Shared Services Response Team.
The team comprises deputy sheriffs and police officers who receive specialized training to provide a tactical response to critical incidents and other specialized assignments and emergencies within Columbia and Greene counties. Its formation was announced June 24 in the conference room of the Public Safety Building that houses the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, the Columbia County 911 dispatch center and the county jail.
Facing the television and newspaper reporters were Hudson Police Commissioner Gary Graziano, Hudson Police Chief L. Edward Moore, Columbia County Sheriff David Bartlett and Greene County Sheriff Gregory R. Seeley. Standing at the back of the room were many officers from the three agencies which will comprise the SSRT.
The SSRT was formed after guidelines adopted by the state placed more stringent requirements and standards on tactical teams. All three agencies, the Columbia and Greene county sheriffs’ offices and Hudson Police, had been supporting their own tactical teams for a number of years. But Sheriff Bartlett, Sheriff Seeley and Hudson Police Chief Moore realized that they could not meet the new state standards individually. They were in agreement that together a response team could be formed that met the standards and would not put additional financial and manpower burdens on their agencies.
In July 2014, representatives from the three agencies began the process of forming a multi-jurisdictional unit. In addition, the agency representatives worked with the Columbia and Greene County Attorney’s Office and city attorney to develop an agreement that allows for the three municipalities to share police services and equipment. This agreement has been approved by all three municipalities and the Columbia-Greene Shared Services Response Team is now operational.
Although there are many multi-jurisdictional teams in the state, it is believed that CGSSRT is the first multi-county team.
“One thing that 9/11 has taught us is that we have to be able to rely on ourselves,” Sheriff Bartlett said. “This team will save the taxpayers’ money by reducing overtime and will create a well trained team deployable in high risk situations as well as search and rescue. There is also a capability for shared equipment such as diving gear. It will allow police agencies to respond more quickly.”
Chief Moore said, “People need to get used to shared services. This is what the people want and what they deserve. This does not mean a militarization of the police services—it will actually downsize this aspect.”
Sheriff Bartlett added that the memorandum of understanding for shared services will allow them to apply for government grants for which they would not have been eligible previously.