SILVER CREEK – Three cars formerly used by the village Police Department, as well as a bicycle used by officers, are listed for sale on an auction website two years after Chautauqua County sheriff’s deputies began patrolling the village.
Village Board members declared the items as excess equipment in June, and the village has been storing them in the Department of Public Works building on Routes 5&20. They are listed on the Auctions International website, where bidding will continue until Sept. 17.
There are two Dodge vehicles and a Ford Interceptor.
Mayor Nick Piccolo hired the Sheriff’s Office to start policing the village in June 2013, when the local department did not have enough staff to cover 24-hour shifts.
Contracts with the county have continued, with deputies supplying round-the-clock coverage at $367,652 annually.
The deputies do not use the village’s vehicles, so the three police cars have been in storage since the changeover.
The mayor said he expected the sale to happen earlier this summer but confirmed that the website was now listing the cars and bike. He said that the auction site set the minimum bid and that he hoped the village would realize some proceeds. Insurance coverage has been maintained while the vehicles have been in storage, he said.
“When you leave them set, they lose value,” Piccolo said.
The local police force was not officially disbanded. A public referendum would be required for the service to officially end, and no such vote has been scheduled.
Equipment, including the cars, guns and surveillance cameras, were mothballed in various locations, with the Dunkirk Police Department housing guns and ammunition.
The last police chief for Silver Creek was Timothy Roche, a third-generation law enforcement officer for the village who retired in June 2013 after 32 years of service.
At the time of Roche’s retirement, local officials said they would consider reforming a Police Department. There were generally five full-time officers in the department, which the village began in the mid-1800s.
“At this time, we are weighing pros and cons for even a part-time police agency,” Piccolo said, pointing out that cost is the major issue. “We want the best for our residents, but we don’t want an extra tax load, either.”
The next regular meeting of the board will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Municipal Building.