As local police throughout Rockland and the county's Narcotics Task Force finished a 10-month-long drug probe on Monday, District Attorney Thomas Zugibe said investigations such as "Operation High Rise" are a prime example of why Rockland should not be cutting funding for anti-crime efforts.
Today, Zugibe plans to bring that message to the Rockland County Legislature, where lawmakers plan to discuss County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef's proposal to cut $2.5 million in spending by eliminating reimbursements for towns and villages that supply police officers for the Rockland County Drug Task Force and Rockland County Intelligence Center. The county is facing a $52 million budget gap.
Without the funds to reimburse local police departments for salary and benefits, town and village officials throughout the county say they can't afford to supply manpower to the countywide programs. Zugibe said the county funding makes complicated undercover operations possible and supports efforts to get drug dealers off the streets.
In Operation High Rise, 40 people were charged with selling drugs — including crack cocaine, heroin and illegally-obtained prescription drugs — on local streets and at major shopping centers and malls in Rockland. This was the third such operation targeting drug dealers this year, with a total of 94 people arrested.
Rockland County Narcotics Task Force Director Christopher Goldrick said Operation High Rise was typical of many county investigations. He said it started with information developed by a local police force — in this case, Orangeotwn police — and led to more than 100 undercover drug purchases and an investigation that involved officers from multiple police agencies.
The Legislature is set to discuss the anti-crime funding during a 7:15 p.m. "committee of the whole" session in the Legislative Chambers of the Allison-Parris County Office Building, 11 New Hempstead Road, New City.