Record Online

Auxiliary police era ends in Orange Last two towns' squads disband, leaving only memories.

Top Photo
12/18/07--Tony D'Angelo, of New Windsor, who was a lieutenant
in the New Windsor Auxiliary Police, looks over a scrap book of
his involvement in the organization spanning the past 22 years.
The organization was recently disbanded.
Photo by Times Herald-Record/JEFF GOULDIN.

By Michael Randall Times Herald-Record December 19, 2007

NEW WINDSOR — An era ended, quietly, when the auxiliary police squads in New Windsor and Cornwall were disbanded recently.

They were the last auxiliary squads in Orange County towns.

The state Department of Criminal Justice Services directed that counties now must certify the training for auxiliary police.

That, more than the dwindling number of auxiliary squad members — fewer than 10 in each town — was the primary reason for doing away with them.

The Orange County Emergency Services' commissioner, Walter Koury — a former New Windsor police chief, said the county doesn't provide such training; it's always done at the local level. And since the county doesn't do the training, it can't certify the training.

Koury said he and the towns looked for another solution, but under state law, towns are not authorized to certify training for their auxiliary police.

(The City of Newburgh, which also has auxiliary police, was not affected, as cities are authorized to certify them.)

So the decision was made mutually to disband the squads.

The state created auxiliary police during the early years of the Cold War in the 1950s, with the primary purpose of helping with traffic and crowd control.

The local squads still did that, for events like parades and festivals. But Tony D'Angelo, a lieutenant and 22-year member of the New Windsor auxiliary, said they also helped in weather emergencies, patrolled shopping plazas and malls during the holidays and sometimes even helped out neighboring communities.

Some members went on to become regular police officers, like New Windsor police Chief Michael Biasotti.

Cornwall Supervisor Richard Randazzo conceded the change could mean more overtime costs if regular police have to perform some of the duties once handled by the auxiliary police. But he said he understood the county's position, too.

Koury said he urged both towns to check out two federally funded programs, Volunteers in Police Services and Community Emergency Response Teams, which are designed to augment municipal police departments.

Meanwhile, the auxiliary police and their work will live on in memories and in scrapbooks like the one D'Angelo has kept for many years.

"It's just a shame it had to end just like that after 41 years," he said.

Letters to the editor for Friday, Jan. 11, 2008

Actions insulting

In your Dec. 20 edition, an article appeared regarding the disbanding of the Auxiliary Police in the towns of New Windsor and Cornwall. While the article gives a number of reasons, not all are accurate.

Stating the decline in numbers was a primary reason is not accurate. There were three approved New York state peace officer schools canceled, with a list of applicants canceled as well. Cornwall had increased its roster over the past several years. As per a county legislator, they were not advised of the decision.

The manner in which this has taken place is insulting to its current officers as well to the more than 70 men and women who served the community over the past 41 years. Not only has it been mishandled, but also it was unprofessional by all those involved.

New Windsor's "best-kept secret," the Auxiliary Police Unit, will no longer serve our residents or assist the Police Department. Our commitment to the community without public knowledge or similar benefits as our other fine volunteer organizations receive has come to a close.

It may have been a best-kept secret, but it is no secret to those Auxiliary officers who served their community so proudly, in so many ways, saved taxpayers thousands of dollars and then with nothing more than "a stroke of a pen" were told you're no longer needed!

Thank you to all the dedicated Auxiliary officers who have served the Town of New Windsor over the years. Your job is over, your tour is done!

Tony D'Angelo

Former Auxiliary Lieutenant

Town of New Windsor Auxiliary Police