Sheriff's department still dealing with Irene's aftereffects

August 28, 2017 06:14 PM

SCHOHARIE – The floodwaters from 2011 are long gone. However, this day, even the sheriff's department still hasn't recovered. Schoharie County deputies are working out of half a building with no jail.

Nine feet of water wiped out the first floor of sheriff offices and the jail. They remain useless to this day.

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"We haven't guarded prisoners the way were used to guarding prisoners in a facility. We've been transporting prisoners," explained Undersheriff Ron Stevens.

When the nine feet of water rushed into the parking lot, a snowmobile trailer crashed into the sheriff's office. Deputies were moved upstairs with 911 dispatch. Inmates had to be processed in a makeshift room and then housed at the Albany County Jail.

The Sharon Springs American Legion post even delivered a letter of appreciation to staff on Monday.

"It's like trying to get the job done when you really haven’t got all the resources," noted Frank Masterson with Sharon Springs American Legion Post 1269.

Without a jail, jail employees have become chauffeurs, driving inmates from Albany's jail to places including court dates and doctors’ appointments.

Schoharie County Sheriff Tony Desmond says the day before the flood, they were set to make $1 million for boarding other county's inmates. Now, it's a different story.

"I would say the average is about $80,000 a month. FEMA is paying a portion of that," noted Desmond.

However, after six years, why is this still the case?

County Treasurer Bill Cherry says FEMA approved funds to build a state of the art building in 2015. Since then, they've been jumping through federal and state bureaucratic hoops.

The plan is to get shovels in the ground next spring.


WNYT Staff

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