Lake Placid’s police department heroes

Jesse Summo and Patrick Kane represented the Lake Placid Police Department during the 2023 Community Day. (News photo — Andy Flynn)

After 9/11 the police and fire departments were heroes. Now a little over 20 years later law enforcement has been villainized.

Of late, there has been talk of defunding the police department and funding more social workers. While the idea of finding more funding for social workers to help people to improve their lives, and to stay out of crime is a great idea, it should not come at the expense of the police funding.

Whatever progress, extra funding of social workers may take, it will take many years before we see the results of their work. Until or if that day comes, you’re going to need police officers to keep you safe.

I have heard people say that we have too many police officers. In the 15 years I have been on the village board that has never been the case, most times we have been at the bare minimum. Keep in mind that the police department has to operate 365 days of the year 24 hours a day. As far as patrol officers go, there always should be two on duty so they have back up for each other. A perfect example of why you need back up are the two officers in Minnesota that recently lost their lives responding to a domestic incident call. You also need someone to do investigations, and take statements.

As for the police chief there are always duties to do as to such as trying to find a way to make the schedule work, keeping up on current law enforcement training, and in the case of the World University Games or other major events, countless hours with Homeland Security and the State Police to ensure everyone’s safety.

A Lake Placid Police Department cruiser leads the village’s 2023 Halloween parade down Main Street. (News photo — Andy Flynn)

Many of you have seen police officers responding to crimes conducting investigations, performing traffic enforcement and arresting criminals. What most people don’t realize are all the things police officers do for us that we never see and or take for granted.

If you have ever been in an accident, or have seen one, the odds are the very first person on the scene, providing medical attention are village police officers. Other duties performed include attending school crossings has the students arrive and leave school and frequent walk-throughs of the schools.

The police department also does supplemental dispatch coverage at the Lake Placid Volunteer Fire Department, threat assessment, for vulnerable entities, sex offender registration and management, safekeeping of firearms and filing of extreme risk protection orders and assisting the State Police and Essex County Sheriff’s Office with complaints in the town of North Elba, along with participation in our narcotics enforcement efforts.

Another important function of the Lake Placid Police Department is providing support for the major events in our area, such as the Empire State Winter Games, Ironman triathlon in the summer lacrosse tournament, as well as many others. Many of these events would either be impossible or very hard to hold without our police department as well as support from the state police and county sheriffs department.

I have been involved with or worked with the Lake Placid Police Department for the last 50 years. When I worked at the family motel and later, when my wife and I owned the motel, we always found the police department to be there within minutes of when you called and to be professional and compassionate.

The Lake Placid police are good people that knowingly took on a tough job that needs to be done. They care very much about the Lake Placid community and are good sensible people that do the best they can to enforcing laws that they did not create.

The next time you see a police officer, I would encourage you to take the time and thank them for the job they do and how much you appreciate them. I can tell you police officers are just like everyone else and we all like to know the job we do is appreciate it.

If anyone is interested in joining our team, and serving as a Lake Placid police officer or in parking enforcement, feel free to contact myself, Chief Chuck Dobson or talk to any of our law enforcement officers. You can also visit the Lake Placid police departments website at www.lakeplacidpd.com to find more details on how to get into law-enforcement.

In closing, let me thank the Lake Placid Police Department and all other law-enforcement agencies that are there when we need them and keep us safe day in and day out.

(Art Devlin is the mayor of the village of Lake Placid.)

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