NY's Schoharie County to arm deputies at DMV

Jan 3, 2013

The shootings of schoolchildren and teachers in Connecticut and firefighters in Western New York have added to one community's worries about safety in public buildings. Capital Region Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports armed guards will be stationed at a motor vehicles office in Schoharie County.

Concerns over security measures at the Richmondville Department of Motor Vehicles office dates back to late Summer. The DMV has been operating out of what's described as a "makeshift office" since the 2011 floods washed the agency out of the county office building on Main Street in Schoharie.

The Schoharie office had glass partitions and a locked door seperating employees from the public.

The Richmondville facility has none of that: there are no public restroom and just a single entranceway that has some people worried about what might happen should an individual become irritated and menacing. Schoharie County Sheriff Tony Desmond says something had to be done to ease those concerns.

The Schoharie County Board of Supervisors was already looking into the matter. Chairman Harold Vroman says "why wait for something to happen".  So, bowing to public pressure, the county authorized installation of security measures including the hiring of two part-time sheriff's deputies to ensure safety at the DMV.

Sheriff Desmond adds that until the new personnell are in place, deputies and state troopers are making periodic stops at the office. He says other counties have had problems in their office buildings. Chairman Vroman says there has been trouble in the past at Richmondville.

County officials concede they cannot "protect everyone, everywhere" - but hope video monitoring and armed guards will offer some degree of comfort in what they see as today's apprehensive society. The DMV office is expected to move back into the County Building around mid-year.

DMV officials in New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts did not return several calls for comment.