Supe seeks firearms dialog; Sheriff’s Security Services accredited

HUDSON–This month’s meeting of the Columbia County Board of Supervisors included a call by one supervisor for dialogue on gun ownership policies.

Speaking at the Wednesday, October 11, session Supervisor William Hughes (D-Hudson, 4th Ward), asked in reference to the massacre in Las Vegas, “We have a right to own guns, but what does that mean?… Do we need rapid fire weapons? Tracer bullets?”

“I’ve been a sportsman all my life,” he said. “But I do not believe we should modify our guns for more carnage.

“This is not a party issue,” he said. “This is a people issue. We’re divided on a national level, but on a local level, I think we all want the same thing.”

When considering making gun laws, legislatures “should talk with local gun owners,” Mr. Hughes, the minority leader of the board, said by phone the next day. “Talk with hunters. Some lawmakers have never owned a gun and never gone hunting. A real sportsman has the mindset: one shot, one kill. You don’t want to shoot more than once” to bring a target down. But if legislators propose a law with the attitude “‘We’re going to take your guns away,’ it’s a non-starter,” Mr. Hughes said.

Also at the October 11 meeting, county Sheriff David Bartlett announced that the Security Services Division of his office had achieved state accreditation, bringing to four the number of accredited divisions in his five-division office. The three divisions that have previously earned accreditation are Law Enforcement, Corrections, and Civil.

The remaining division is Emergency, for which New York State currently does not have accreditation standards, Sheriff Bartlett said. Only 28% of the police agencies in New York are accredited, he added.

During the meeting Sheriff Bartlett expressed special thanks and recognition to two people on his team for their hard work, including on the accreditation: First Sergeant Louis Bray of Law Enforcement, and Deputy Michael Stelling of Security Services. They stood with the Sheriff at the front of the meeting room.

Sheriff Bartlett is running for election to a second term this November. His opponent is Chatham Police Chief Peter Volkmann.

Also at the meeting:

• Mr. Hughes thanked Sheriff Bartlett for working on “diversifying” the Corrections division staff

• Mr. Hughes announced that the county Department of Social Services (DSS) had told him that a bus to Columbia-Greene Community College that makes stops in Philmont, Claverack, Stockport and Greenport had started that day

•At the last minute, the Board of Supervisors postponed a vote on whether to subcontract with up to five Personal Care Aides in order to alleviate the shortage of such aides for clients of the Office for the Aging and the DSS. Board Clerk Kelly Baccaro said that the county has to do “further financial research” on this matter

• The board authorized the controller to transfer $14,000 between budget divisions to pay for the survey and asbestos evaluation that the Courthouse Annex underwent earlier this year

• Before the meeting, the board received a presentation on an independent auditors’ report about financial statements as of December 31, 2016

• Board Chairman Matt Murell (R-Stockport) called for a moment of silence right after adjournment for both Livingston Justice Robert Q. “Bob” Moore, a judge for over 40 years, and for the Las Vegas shooting victims.

The next full Board meeting of Columbia County Supervisors will take place Wednesday, November 8, at 7:30 pm, at 401 State Street in Hudson.

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