Last week the Marlborough Town Board approved a cooperative agreement with the Ulster Regional Gang Enforcement Narcotics Team [URGENT]. By approving this annual agreement one Marlborough Police Officer will be assigned to work in a specialized unit “to investigate gang members and affiliates involved in criminal enterprises as well as investigate narcotic related offenses and the possession and sale of illegal firearms in Ulster County.”
Marlborough Police Chief Gerald Cocozza said the town has the choice of how many officers to appoint to the Task Force but presently they have one officer who is assigned to the team.
“Two days a week, regular schedule, he goes to Kingston and does whatever the URGENT Task force needs,” Cocozza said. He added that the officer is paid his regular salary by the Town of Marlborough.
“The advantage to it is that if we have an issue or problem or maybe we don’t even know we have an issue but they do, they will send people here to deal with that issue or problem,” Cocozza said.
Cocozza said the team deals with more than drug related issues.
“They help with a lot of different things where we need extra manpower, their expertise, their equipment, so it’s more than just gangs and drugs,” he said.
Cocozza estimates that most towns in Ulster County have at least one member of their police department serving on the URGENT task force. He tries to keep the same officer in the force because of the significant training that URGENT invests in each officer.
“It doesn’t make sense to keep switching them out unless we absolutely have to,” he said.
Cocozza said as the URGENT cases make their way through the justice system there are, depending on the types of cases, seizures of cars and money “and URGENT can opt to refund some of the monies we spent to put that person there. They figure it out based on the number of hours the individual person put into URGENT and they send us back a check. At the end of 2016 we got $5,000 back.” He said towns do not get a refund every year because much of the seized profits go toward investigations, surveillance, training, cars and the overall expenses of running the task force.
Cocozza pointed out that the county made a few adjustments to the indemnifications in the agreement “so we as a town are better covered by the county with insurances.”
Cold War Exemptions
The board held a public hearing and later approved to extend a property tax exemption for Cold War Veterans, defined as those who have served in the military during the period of 1947 to 1991. Supervisor Al Lanzetta said this “is to renew the law that we had on the books and this is a great thing for the Cold War Veterans.”
By Mark Reynolds