Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Andover Village Justice Steven Heckman says if Village Court goes, so will police department

By Brian Quinn, Daily Reporter

ANDOVER — The village justice whose village court will be eliminated if Andover voters OK a proposition Tuesday said he’s had virtually no communication with the village on the proposal.

Village Justice Steven Heckman said, however, that his main concern is that voters know if Village Court goes, the Andover Police Department may be next to be dissolved. This is the opposite of what Mayor David Truax and village trustees said last week. The village has said it would save $10,400 in the 2015-16 budget by abolishing Village Court. Cases would be transferred to Town Court. Voting is between noon and 9 p.m. Tuesday at the Andover Town Hall, 22 E. Greenwood St.

“The village of Andover is in a tight spot financially,” Heckman said Wednesday, but added, “What they’re doing (with the proposal to abolish Village Court) isn’t what it seems. The Village Court has cost them hardly any money for years. I’ve been doing this for 12 years. Most of the time, it’s a positive financial situation.

“The important thing, and what the people in the village are going to want to know is, this isn’t about the court. It’s about getting rid of the police department. If the people in Andover knew what they (village officials) were really up to, they’d be very upset.”

Truax has said there have been rumors in Andover that the village plans to get rid of the police department.

“We have no intention of getting rid of the police department,” he said, adding, “We’ve cut back on our part-time police officers. We have one full-time officer, which is Chief (James) Rumfelt. We have three part-timers on the books. We’re only using part-timers if necessary or if the chief is taking a day off or if we have any events going on in the village.

“The only concern I’ve heard recently is the misunderstanding of (the village) dissolving the police department,” the mayor said. “We’re not dissolving the police.”

Truax has said eliminating Village Court to save money is a positive thing, but said it’s up the voters to decide.

“We encourage everybody to get out and vote and voice their opinion. If anybody has any questions, feel free to stop by (the village offices) and ask,” the mayor said.

The village justice said instead of trying to get rid of Police Chief James Rumfelt and the department publicly, the village is trying to do it in a “less controversial manner.” He also spoke highly of Rumfelt. Click the link for more...

Andover Village Justice Steven Heckman says if Village Court goes, so will police department