Blooming Grove Swears in 2 New Police Officers
Chief Schupp Updates Village On Concerns
By Edie Johnson
A busy agenda for the police department this week began with the swearing in of one new full-time police officer (Matthew Barlow), one of 4 full-time officers hired this year, and two part-time officers, Kelson Miller and Anthony Feliciano at the Town Hall. One of this year’s hires is from the NYPD.
The week continued with Chief Carl Schupp spending the better part of an hour discussing issues in the Village of South Blooming Grove that included the continued operation of the “Infamous Blue Bus”, a bus that began shuttle services from VSBG to Kiryas Joel, but did not follow the rules that the village put in its code. Mayor Jim LoFranco reiterated that the issue is still being considered at Orange County Supreme Court and he therefore cannot comment on it. However, Chief Schupp clarified that while the police department cannot currently stop the bus because of code infractions, they certainly can stop it for any traffic violations. Likewise, he said he is assigning as many officers as possible to locations in Worley Heights and Merriwold Lake where both the KJ Shuttle and school buses are said to speed and roll through stop signs.
Schupp continued to describe not only the experience and background of the town’s new police department hires, but gave an extraordinary detailed review about the efforts to build Blooming Grove’s force, including the history and accomplishments of just about every officer in the town during his long tenure. He described a force made of “Instant Cops” (many from NYC that are already fully trained) and “Work Horses” (officers willing to do whatever is asked of them). New “Instant Cop” hires are frequently difficult to obtain, he said, because most recently graduated officers have young families and are eligible for much higher paying jobs in New York City and with State Police. Nevertheless, the departments current officers have served the town long and well, one of which is about to get a very special award as “Top Shooter” out of 1200 guys. The award is waiting arrival of his “top gun” prize of a custom made gun of his choice. While the Blooming Grove force is currently fully staffed, Schupp explained that staffing is not as simple as one would think, since certain officer have special abilities, and new hires have to do 160 field hours with a partner before they can be on assignment alone. Also, while 7 officers have been hired since January of 2018, and two new hires are currently in training, one officer is out indefinitely with a work-related injury, and. three of his experienced officers will soon retire. Schupp will be retiring soon as well, and his dedication and tough but compassionate policing techniques have provided a sterling example for his team over the years. Meanwhile, if none of the other officers can respond to a call, Schupp says “My cell phones are surgically applied to my hip.” A testament to their dedication, he said that between 1994 and 2015 his force lost only 3 police officers to transfers, and one of those was to Washingtonville. But many newly graduated officers “want more action”, a little danger, maybe a little building rappelling, so they go elsewhere, because Blooming Grove is generally quiet and peaceful.
VSBG New Water Filtration System
Mayor LoFranco updated villagers on the efforts to gain funding for a much needed filtration system. Historically, iron and manganese residual in pipes that date back to the 60’s break, and after repair the addition of water to start systems back up washes the minerals off of pipe walls, resulting and nasty brown water. Jim Mullany added that since the 60’s there has been near constant heavy truck traffic on Route 208 under which many of the lines run. LoFranco reiterated that they are committed to obtaining the new filtration system whether funding comes through or not. He added that he is somewhat reassured because since before the well at Orange and Rockland had its filtration system, the same problems occurred, but the water from that well is no longer a problem. Villagers, who have heard the reasons for the brown water for years are getting short on patience about it. Some have to go to relatives’ or friends’ homes just to bathe, and one woman said “I am supposed to be retired. Now I had to go back to work just to get enough clean water for necessities.” Other residents, aggravated to their limit, wanted the Village to declare a Water State of Emergency. That too could have troublesome consequences. Resident John Salka made the point that these water issues must be well documented as they make the point that as far as water is concerned, South Blooming Grove has reached a condition of build-out, and should not encourage any more building projects, certainly not without the issue being resolved.
As of press time the village had met with Keith Miller of the Orange County Department of Health and reportedly together with both county and village engineers are working diligently to come up with at least some kind of temporary fix, possibly a reroute of certain lines until the new filtration system is installed. It is expected to cost $1.2M to $1.3M, much of which they hope to be covered by grants.
Caption 1: Full Time Police Officer Matthew Barlow w/ Chief of Police Carl Schupp
Caption 2: Part Time Police Officers L to R – Officer Kelson Miller, Chief of Police Carl Schupp, Part Time Police Officer Anthony Feliciano
Caption 3: The Chief reviews history of his force with SBG villagers