Local News

Tompkins Sheriff Announces Unarmed Pilot Program


The Tompkins County Sheriff’s Office has announced a new pilot program to respond to certain non-emergency related calls for service with unarmed Sheriff’s Clerks. These responses may be handled via telephone or in-person depending on the type of call.

This pilot program is a Tompkins County Reimagining Public Safety plan and will be led by the Tompkins Sheriff’s Office and Sheriff Derek Osborne.

The program is intended to both assess the effectiveness and outcomes of unarmed responses to certain call types and free up time for Sheriff’s Deputies to respond to emergency calls, complete investigations, and build more relationships with members of the community.

Some of the examples of call types the pilot program includes are:

  • Car vs. Deer, it is noted in certain situations a deputy would be dispatched.
  • Assist, Traffic Complaint, if this is actively happening a deputy would be dispatched.
  • Fraud/Telephone Scam
  • Noise Complaint

Tompkins County Sheriff Derek Osborne stated, “We’re excited to look at a new approach to these calls. We don’t need to respond to every call we get with a deputy, we can free up their time to do the important policing work they’re tasked with while offering more immediate responses by someone unarmed to non-emergencies.” Osborne continued, “We’re committed to seeing how this goes and looking at the data to decide a long-term solution for our office. We may add more call types in the future, this is meant to be a start so we can see if we’re meeting the outcomes that we are setting out to achieve.”

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