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MAKE TOWNS FOOT THE BILL FOR POLICE SERVICE

As past president of the Western New York Police Association and a member of the Town of Tonawanda Police Club, I would like to comment on the Jan. 23 News article about the costs of police service in our community.

What bothered me most was not what it costs the local taxpayers, but how suburbs like Clarence and Grand Island use the rest of the county taxpayers to subsidize the expense of their police service. This is why their service is low cost.

It would have been a more balanced article if The News had made mention of the subsidy that these taxpayers enjoy at our expense. These communities have chosen not to fund their own police agencies and, by state law, their service defaults to the State Police. Counties whose sheriff's office provides a criminal deputy division also serve communities without local police authority.

If the counties were to bill the actual cost of this police protection to those municipalities that are subsidized by the rest of the county -- who pay for their own service -- the county tax bill for the municipal residents would drop and the taxes for the free-loading residents of the communities without local police service would better reflect the cost of that service.

The cost of the criminal division of the Sheriff's Department should be removed from the taxes of any property owner whose local municipality provides their police protection. The full cost of this service should be borne by those communities the sheriff's office is responsible to answer calls in.

MICHAEL THORP

Buffalo

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