A longtime tradition in the Town of Yorktown has come to an abrupt end.
The Yorktown Auxiliary Police, described as the “eyes and ears” of the Yorktown Police Department, were disbanded June 30 by Police Chief Robert Noble after being in existence for more than 60 years.
Rick Davin, an Auxiliary Police member for 33 years and captain of the volunteer force since 2004, said, without any advanced warning, he was informed by Noble the Auxiliary Police were being eliminated for safety reasons.
“It’s disheartening after all this time,” said Davin, a retired Verizon worker who volunteered about 30 hours a month. “Everyone was kind of surprised and saddened. It was so sudden.”
Noble, who was appointed chief last September, stood firmly behind his decision to oust the Auxiliary Police, which currently had five members but had as many as 25 in the past.
“The decision to disband the Auxiliary Police was made by me as chief of police. The decision was made because of the great security concerns for police officers,” Noble said. “On a normal daily basis the media report instances when police officers are the subject of attacks, some of which have resulted in police fatalities. Since the Auxiliary Police are uniform police officers they can become the subject of attacks. However, the Auxiliary Police are not armed as police officers, putting them, as well as other police officers, in very vulnerable positions.”
“Accordingly, I believe it was prudent to disband the Auxiliary Police,” Noble added. “I would like to thank them for their many years of contributions, especially Rick Davin, who put in a great deal of time and effort into the Auxiliary Police. I do strongly believe that I made the correct decision. It is a safety concern in this day and age.”
The Yorktown Auxiliary Police did traffic control at about 25 events a year, according to Davin, and patrolled parks, school facilities and other public areas in town Friday and Saturday night from 7 to midnight in marked Auxiliary Police vehicles.
Last year, Davin said former Police Chief Daniel McMahon asked the Auxiliary Police to inventory approximately 500 street lights in town, where they discovered 25% were out of service and subsequently replaced.
“I would like to think we were always a help to officers, helping free them up to do paperwork and other things,” said Davin, who noted the Auxiliary Police had a small budget of about $8,000.
In Westchester County, there are currently 12 other active Auxiliary Police units, including in Peekskill and Croton-on-Hudson. Five of those units have armed officers.
“If there was a real threat to unarmed auxiliary officers, why would New York City still have them?” Davin asked.
The Yorktown Town Board was told of Noble’s intentions on June 27. Councilman Tom Diana, a former police officer, said Noble had the authority to do away with the Auxiliary Police and the board was comfortable with his reasoning.
“They definitely had a function here in town and they did a great job, but we have to go with what the chief recommended. It’s his department,” Diana said. “They don’t really have any protection. It’s a shame our world has come to that. It used to be much simpler.”