B y Dan King and Christina Scanlon

After more than a year without an acting police chief, the Whitehall Police Department has a new head honcho – Granville’s police chief.

ErnieBassett2

Chief Ernie Bassett

Ernie Bassett was hired by the Whitehall Village Board last week to serve as the new chief of police in Whitehall while continuing to serve Granville.

“I talked to him about it and he is more than qualified, so it was an easy decision,” said Whitehall Mayor Ken Bartholomew, who also serves as police commissioner.

Granville Mayor Brian LaRose said Whitehall officials approached his board with the idea of hiring Bassett and striking a shared services agreement.

State law says that any village with a police department is required to have a chief of police, which is why Whitehall chose to pursue Bassett.

Until a permanent agreement is hashed out between the two municipalities, Bassett will be paid $29.50 an hour while working in Whitehall for an anticipated 16 hours a week, while working in Granville for 30 hours a week.

At a Granville Village Board meeting Monday, LaRose said a proposed contract for Bassett was still being reviewed by counsel. He did not give any details of the arrangement, but he said taxpayers could benefit financially if the two villages share items such as retirement and insurance costs.

A joint agreement between the two also opens the door for both municipalities to secure grant funding.
LaRose said he is hopeful a contract could be in place for approval in October.

When Bassett is not present in Whitehall, the department will still have leadership from Sgt. Dick LaChapelle, who had served as “officer in charge” since former chief Matt Dickinson went on medical leave more than a year ago and eventually retired.

In Granville, a potential for alternate staffing patterns is being considered, as well. The department is currently down an officer and is considering applications for a new hire to bring the department to five. Whitehall has 14 police officers, including Bassett and LaChapelle.

Bassett said he was hopeful the arrangement with the two villages can be worked out.

“It’s beneficial to everyone involved,” he said. “It’s a way of saving money. We can do this properly and maintain coverage for both.”

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