SKANEATELES — The town of Skaneateles has hired a constable to help its laws have more teeth.
The Skaneateles Town Board hired Thomas W. Adessa, a certified peace officer, as its part-time constable. Adessa will enforce the town laws, including enforcement of valid stickers at the transfer station, as well as serve as court security.
Adessa sent a letter in June requesting the town consider hiring him as peace officer.
He will make $18 an hour, and is licensed to carry a firearm.
The board agreed to hire Adessa following a public hearing last week. Skaneateles resident Joseph Southern was the Jan. 5 hearing’s only speaker. He said he understood why a constable would need a sidearm for court security, but asked the board to reconsider allowing Adessa to carry a weapon while performing his other duties.
“I fail to see the need,” Southern said of carrying a firearm. “At court security, I would agree, yes it would be appropriate, but up at the transfer station, checking on ... stickers, I do not see the need for a sidearm. I am strongly against carrying it in other situations other than court security.”
Town Supervisor Terri Roney said the constable is authorized to carry a firearm while on duty for continuity in his authority in the town. Anyone issued an appearance ticket would see the same constable who wrote the violation later in court.
“Times have changed,” Deputy Supervisor Jim Greenfield said. “I don’t have a problem with him carrying a sidearm.”
The constable will also carry a baton, handcuffs, restraints and pepper spray. Adessa is scheduled to complete training in some of these items he hasn’t already had training for this weekend. However, he cannot identify himself as a police office, nor is he authorized to participate in traffic or vehicle stops. He also is not authorized to have flashing lights typically associated with police on his vehicle.
Adessa will be able to issue appearance tickets, requiring violators to come before the town court.
The board had to approve a law that would allow the town to appoint someone to the position of constable before hiring Adessa, and also did that Jan. 5. At Roney’s suggestion, the board also changed the pay attached to the position from $18 to $15 to $22. Although Adessa's pay is set at $18, the range will afford the town flexibility if it has to hire temporary help or additional constables.