NORTHVILLE — There’s a new chief on the beat.
Richard Richardson, a former Gloversville detective lieutenant, is at the helm of a tiny, recently reconfigured department serving the village of Northville and surrounding town of Northampton.
“I’m building a police department from the ground up, basically, and all administrative duties that go along with that,” said the 40-year-old chief.
Northville-area patrols were long managed on a part-time basis by officer-in-charge Matthew VanValkenburgh, who worked full-time with the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department. He resigned from Northville Police Department on March 24.
Discussions between Northville and Northampton over creating a consolidated force have spanned years. The surrounding town was long covered by state troopers and county deputies.
“We need coverage,” said Northampton Town Supervisor James Groff. “I see it everyday because I’m around the town everyday. There’s violations of the stop signs, the speed limits and just constant traffic problems.”
The town signed off on an inter-municipality contract in mid-March to create the force. Richardson started on April 3.
“We really felt that we wanted a community-policing type of police department, so that’s kind of what we have now,” said Northville Mayor Sue Eckert.
Richardson was brought on board, in part, to help Northville Police Department based on his experience helping Gloversville’s force receive accreditation from the state Division of Criminal Justice Services.
Additionally, the Great Sacandaga Lake-area department must comply with state onboarding and reporting standards or face hiring restrictions.
“You don’t have to be an accredited agency, and not all agencies are going to be accredited by October, but you still have to comply with two of those standards,” Richardson said.
Three part timers have been hired since Richardson was hired, adding to a total of six in the department. The roster includes two active deputies, three retired officers and one other officer with a valid police certificate.
“Obviously, with me being here more, and having part timers working more, we’re going to have an increased call volume,” said Richardson. “But, there’s definitely a police need up here and it’s all been positive.”
Each officer is paid $25 an hour, according to Eckert.
Richardson will earn $110,000 annually, funded between Northville and Northampton. In his last year as a detective lieutenant in Gloversville, he earned a base salary of $86,798.40 and an additional $22,857.80 in overtime payments.
Fulton County Area News founder Ryan Lorey has argued that Richardson’s compensation is too high for the job.
“That’s an insane amount,” Lorey said.
Eckert and Richardson say that they haven’t otherwise heard any negative feedback.
Northville’s budget annually goes into effect on June 1 and Northampton’s budget process goes into effect on Jan. 1.
State police troopers or county deputies will still provide back-up. The two agencies will also fill in for those off-duty and preoccupied elsewhere, the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department wrote in a recent Facebook post.
Sheriff Richard Giardino didn’t immediately return a request for comment.
Tyler A. McNeil can be reached at 518-395-3047 or [email protected]. Follow him on Facebook at Tyler A. McNeil, Daily Gazette or Twitter @TylerAMcNeil.