When Cortland voters passed a police levy earlier this month, the favorable result probably had a lot to do with how many services new Chief Tom Andrews has restored in the city.
Next, Andrews should carry out his word to work with his counterpart in Bazetta to merge departments.
The Cortland Police Department added a school resource officer, replenished its reserve pool and, with the reserve pool, was able to shift an officer's duty to investigate more crimes. Andrews became a working chief rather than an administrator. In one year on the job he accomplished much.
Cortland voters responded by replacing a 3-mill levy that increased taxes by $122,000.
Among Andrews' accomplishments is cutting costs by providing joint officer training with the Bazetta Police Department and increasing service through more mutual aid with Bazetta.
Through the mutual aid, Andrews said, residents and business owners in each community have grown accustomed to seeing each other's cruisers and officers. Andrews did not accomplish this alone; Bazetta officials deserve credit for their equal participation.
This bodes well for a merger.
Previous Cortland police Chief Gary Mink engaged Bazetta in merger talks and Cortland City Council entertained the idea with Bazetta Township trustees. Legal hurdles in trying to combine a city force with a township force created a roadblock.
A state law passed since then is designed to help communities overcome such obstacles. Andrews said he supports merging the departments. It's time.