A Saugerties ninth grader who overdosed on a drug on April 12 in Catskill is recovering well in the hospital, police chief Joseph Sinagra reported at the village board’s regular meeting on Monday, April 15.
“The indication is that he obtained the drug in Saugerties,” the chief said. “That’s a problem we have to address. We’re working closely with the state police up in Catskill to determine what the substance was and how this individual got his hands on it.”
The student was in a coma all weekend, but he is reportedly now conscious and alert. He is at the Albany Medical Center, Sinagra said.
To Sinagra, the discussion was raised a larger issue in the police department, the shortage of trained personnel, especially at the middle supervisory level. “There’s a lot that goes on, and a lot of investigations that go on,” said Sinagra, “and I try to gingerly address that with the mayor and the town supervisor. But unfortunately there are a lot of times we can’t tell everything we’re doing. But I can tell you now, these guys are working their butts off on some very important major cases in both the village and the town.”
The department is down four positions, Sinagra said. Three sergeants left recently. One has been filled by a promotion within the department, and another will be soon. The positions of the promoted officers will now have to be filled.
“This weekend I have had sergeants working double shifts to cover the open sergeants’ positions,” Sinagra said. “Last night, the sergeants had to work so many doubles they could not work, so the captain came in to cover the shift.” The captain was not eligible for overtime, “I gave him today off,” the chief said.
With the shortage of officers, “we’re eating into our overtime budget very rapidly right now,” Sinagra said. With all the shortages, “we’re still providing the same services,” Sinagra assured the village trustees. He says the combined department is providing a higher level of service than the separate town and village police departments did prior to the merger.