Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Rebuffing locals—and their local knowledge—in northern NY manhunt

The New York Times reports today on the disputes between different law enforcement agencies—and scales of government—in the manhunt for two men who escaped from the Clinton Correctional Facility more than three weeks ago.  The story told by Benjamin Mueller represents many things, among htem urban hubris and a power-struggle between scales of government.  Mueller reports, for example, that Governor Cuomo ordered "a large cadre of non-state law enforcement personnel"—an apparent reference to local law enforcement personnel—out of the command center early on in the manhunt.
A friend of Clinton County sheriff David Favro relates the story thusly:  
Sheriff Favro’s frustration was compounded when Mr. Cuomo arrived at the command center and told him and all the other non-state employees to leave, said a close friend of the sheriff’s, David Andrews, the director of the local radio station WIRY. Mr. Andrews said Mr. Favro was angered at being notified of the escape so late, and was astonished that Mr. Cuomo had asked him to leave. 
“At first they were asked to leave, and he said, ‘But I’m the sheriff,’ ” Mr. Andrews recalled. “Then they were told they had to leave. He was furious and went home.”
in the swamps and forests where the inmates hid, investigators sometimes spurned the assistance of local officials and hunters.
Another local official's anecdote tells of
state and federal officials gathered around the back of a pickup truck, scrutinizing a map whose scale he said was too small to show the uneven geography.
That official commented that the "command and control did not seem in my opinion to be real firm."  

Governor Cuomo's office issued a statement on the matter:
It is customary for state officials to do confidential briefings to relay sensitive information to other state officials during the initial stages of any investigation.  However, the State Police and other state agencies have coordinated extensively with local and federal law enforcement authorities.
This reminds me of some of the power struggles b/w local and federal officials in my own home county.  Read more here.   

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