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Chatham’s new chief takes charge


CHATHAM–The Village Board held a meet-and-greet with Peter Volkmann, the new, part-time village police chief, before the regular meeting Thursday, November 14.

Chief Volkmann, who started in this new position October 16, said he is still in an adjustment period, reviewing the needs of the community and the police force of 17 part-time officers. “We are a full part-time agency now,” he told The Columbia Paper.

A retired police officer from Ossining, Chief Volkmann has been a part-time chief in Stockport for three years. He said he will still work in Stockport, though his time there is very limited due to budget issues. Chief Volkmann talked about a website for the Chatham police, which he said will be up and running soon. “Technology is a useful thing,” he said, especially for a part-time force that is not staffing an office all day.

As for working State Troopers and the County Sheriff’s Office, Chief Volkmann said, “I am looking forward to continuing my good relationship with both agencies.”

Not long after he started work here he got to see the hordes of children trick-or-treating on Kinderhook Street, which the board closed to traffic for the first time this year. Chief Volkmann said he was amazed by the number of children and appreciated the understanding of the people who lived on the street who saw the police cars stationed at either end.

Chief Volkmann told the board during the meeting that he was looking at state regulations and codes. He hopes to have training for the officers in the beginning of the year. “We’ll probably need a full day of training to be up to standard,” he told the board.

He is also updating the village’s emergency plan.

The next big event in the village at which police will need to stop traffic is the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning. The walk and run, sponsored by the Morris Memorial Foundation, closes off parts of Main and Kinderhook streets for a few hours in the morning. The Kids’ Mile/Family Walk starts at 9:30 a.m. Sign up is at the Morris Memorial on Park Row.

Also at the meeting the board:

●Approved hiring DCK LLC from Glens Falls to supervise the Water Department and the Waste Water Treatment Plant for a six month contract. The board also approved hiring DCK to help manage the Department of Public Works for a one month while advertising for the position of superintendent.

●Heard that the Chatham Fire Department, which answered 16 alarms for a total of 133 firefighter hours for the month of October. Chief Paul Pratt plans to purchase 30 fire traffic vests for the volunteers to wear at a cost of $750. He also said he needed repairs on fire police vehicle for about $975. He told the board that they fire department conducted fire prevention programs at various schools and senior centers in the area, reaching over 500 people; participants ranged in age from 3 to 97 years old.

●Appointed Brin Quell to the Zoning Board of Appeals.

●Reviewed the current budget with Treasurer/Administrator Barbara Henry, who said she was concluding the lighting audit for the village. Ms. Henry said that NYSEG, the local power company, never changed its records after major construction was completed on Main Street so the village may get some refunds from the company.

●Authorized Mayor Tom Curran to sign an agreement with AT&T allowing the communications company to use a cell tower in the village at the rate of $2,000 a month with a $5,000 signing bonus.

●Received a $50,000 Ellsworth Kelly Foundation matching grant for work on the parking lot between the CSX train tracks and the rear of the buildings facing Main Street. Mayor Curran said the major issue was getting a barrier up between the lot and the tracks. He also said that the matching funds can be raised in in-kind services as well as by CABA, the Chatham Area Business Association.

●Announced that Santa’s mailbox will be delivered to the Tracy Memorial Friday, December 6 at 7:30 p.m. There will be carriage rides, music and a visit from Santa Claus.

The next board meeting will be Thursday, December 12 at 7:30 p.m.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email eteasdale@columbiapaper.com.


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