By JIM KEVLIN • for www.AllOTSEGO.com
COOPERSTOWN – The Village Board this afternoon appeared to reaffirm support for Police Chief Michael Covert’s anti-heroin program after he briefed them and answered their questions.
In an unannounced addition to a meeting called for a final review of the 2016-17 village board, trustees appeared to be concerned whether Covert’s program was actually serving village residents, and whether other entities – the Oneonta Police Department and the county Sheriff’s Department, in particular – should be shouldering some of the responsibility.
In response to a question by Trustee Ellen Tillapaugh, Covert reported that five of the 55 addicts now in treatment are from Cooperstown. Last Friday, he said, an addicted mother in the village had to be taken to Bassett Hospital for an overdose. Her daughter, who had stepped on a syringe, also had to be treated, (and was later removed by Children Services.)
Asked by Trustee Bruce Maxson if other departments should be stepping up, Covert said county Sheriff Richard J. Devlin Jr. simply isn’t interested. The Oneonta Police Department has been waiting for new Common Council members who took office to become familiar with the issue before moving forward, he said. Also, OPD officers are more focused on arrests than treatment, he said.
After the meeting, Mayor Jeff Katz affirmed the trustees’ concern that Cooperstown initiative is filling a countywide need. But, he added, “everybody is pleased with the program and that’s it’s been worthwhile.”