Police Department Exodus Raises Questions About Staffing Preparedness for Coming Track and Tourist Season

Saratoga Springs Public Safety Commissioner James Montagnino’s heavy-handed administration of the Saratoga Springs Police Department is bearing bitter fruit.

In Saratoga’s summer tourist season, the Saratoga Springs Police Department can go from dealing with a city of approximately 29,000 to on some days a population of 75,000. The department will be going into this busy season with a substantially diminished force, and Public Safety Commissioner James Montagnino’s recent actions are only making things worse.

The department already had a number of vacancies at the end of 2021. Seven new hires are currently attending the Police Acadamy but will not be fully operational until the fall, and historically not all the candidates who attend the Acadamy end up completing the process. Eleven other vacancies remain unfilled.

In a single month, though, the department will now also lose three of its officers.

The highest-ranking female officer who was publicly criticized and threatened with demotion by Commissioner Montagnino is retiring.

Lieutenant Sean Briscoe retired this week. He has been with the department for approximately twenty-seven years and is only fifty years old.

Officer Yevgeniy “Gene” Khutoryanskiy has opted for a lateral transfer to the Glenville Police Department. Although he maintains his rank, he took a pay cut which indicates how poisonous the environment in the department has become.

Other police officers in the department are also exploring getting out given the tensions with Montagnino’s oversight and the potential for enforced overtime that this understaffed department will face this summer.

For a good discussion on this check out this episode of Talking Saratoga.

6 thoughts on “Police Department Exodus Raises Questions About Staffing Preparedness for Coming Track and Tourist Season”

  1. Recruitment, Training, Development, Retention, and Morale are basic leadership tasks for every organization. Commissioner Montagnino’s report card for the first quarter of 2022 has to be marked “F” in every one of those areas. Sometimes he acts like a know-it-all, but he still has a lot to learn about managing the SSPD, and it looks like he’s a slow learner.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. From Montagnino’s self-inflicted issues with the police, to Moran acting way outside his jurisdiction, to Kim wrongly thinking the city doesn’t need an attorney who actually knows municipal law, this city council is proving to be their own worst enemy. Hopefully their mistakes don’t cause serious problems over the summer. The city Democratic committee should be ashamed that this is the best slate they could put forward. The candidates and committee all need to get their act together ASAP for the sake of residents, because if not the next election cycle is rapidly approaching.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Funny thing. They won handily. Give them a chance to find their footing. The Council has NEVER been without any experience as this one is. Let’s give them a minute.

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      1. Well, Kim served two terms on the city council so he’s not new to all of this but seems uninterested in even following the charter or running a meeting properly. I also find it disturbing that none of these Council members ever asks any questions like who’s paying for the barriers for outdoor dining? That doesn’t take any experience just a desire to know what’s going on before they vote on something. It seems to me too that it only takes common sense not a great deal of experience to realize that if you truly want to hear what the public thinks of a proposal, you have to tell them what that is before you go and schedule a public hearing. And they might want to try “getting their footing” before charging into major changes like reorganizing the police department after being in office less than 3 months like Montagnino did. Things might have gone more smoothly, of course, had Kim kept on an experienced city attorney instead of trying to play that role himself.

        Liked by 2 people

    2. Mike—I totally agree and now the Democratic Committee that gave us this crew on the city council is wading into school board elections which are supposed to be non-partisan. Nevertheless this same group of Democrats circulated petitions and are now campaigning for a group of three school board candidates without even talking to the other candidates running.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Very alarming, does not bode well for anyone’s safety this summer, why is no one on the city council speaking up? I cannot make heads or tails of what they seem to prioritize, but public safety is clearly not at the top of the list and that’s just unacceptable.

    Liked by 1 person

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