Schoharie County will install a video monitoring system and station armed deputies at its temporary Department of Motor Vehicles office in response to security concerns voiced earlier this year.
The county moved the DMV to space at the Lancaster Development office in Richmondville after last year’s flooding shut down the county office complex on Main Street in Schoharie.
There’s only one entrance to the temporary office, and workers no longer enjoy the glass partitions and locked door between themselves and the public, nor the close proximity of deputies they had when the office was in the village of Schoharie.
As it stands now, employees have only a single exit and no separation from the general public and, at times, irate customers.
Workers called for some action several months ago, but county Board of Supervisors Chairman Harold Vroman said recent events brought a sense of urgency to the issue.
He cited the massacre in Connecticut as an example of senseless acts of violence that can happen anywhere and asked county supervisors at their monthly meeting last week to make something happen to ensure workers’ safety.
“Why wait for something to happen, that was my point,” Vroman said Thursday.
The county board took several steps following discussion Friday, including authorizing a video monitoring system and approving two new, part-time deputies to be hired.
Vroman said he expects signs to be posted at the DMV office as well to prevent people from getting out of hand.
“It may help deter things,” he said.
Sheriff Tony Desmond said the camera system will cost roughly $5,000 but the cost of two additional, part-time deputies hasn’t yet been established.
Once installed, the camera system will allow staff at the county’s 911 office to view what’s taking place at the DMV office and, if need be, dispatch police officers to the site.
Desmond said deputies will be stationed at the DMV office, where they can establish a presence and be available for calls elsewhere.
In the interim, he said he and other police officers have been making stops to the office.
“We’re stopping by, we’re asking the state police to stop by and patrols have been stopping by as they can,” Desmond said.