GERMANTOWN — The fate of the Germantown Police Department will be decided by voters in November.
The Town Board voted unanimously Aug. 7 to abolish the police department, but the final decision will be up for a vote under a permissive referendum Nov. 6.
A petition for a referendum from voters was received in time for the Sept. 5 deadline, Town Supervisor Robert Beaury said Friday.
It is unclear how many petitions were submitted to the town. Town Clerk Joyce Vale was unavailable for comment Friday.
Resident Tim Otty received 73 signatures on his petition submitted to the town clerk.
“Everyone I have heard from indicates there should be some form of community-based police, although what shape or form that is differs,” Otty said.
Meanwhile, attorney Peter Schuyler filed a letter to the town attorney this week requesting his client, former Germantown police officer-in-charge Brian DuBois, be reinstated to the department.
DuBois was suspended from the police department after his pistol permit was temporarily revoked pending a hearing. His guns were confiscated by the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, which issues pistol permits.
DuBois’ pistol license was returned to him Monday after a brief hearing in Columbia County Court as part of an order by Judge Jonathan Nichols.
“Judge Nichols said on the record that he found Mr. DuBois to be a credible witness and fully restored his permit and canceled the suspension order,” Schuyler said.
Nichols suspended DuBois’ pistol permit June 1 after when a series of emails surfaced between DuBois and Beaury, in which DuBois announced he was investigating unauthorized access to his office. In the emails, Beaury told DuBois not to investigate and that he entered the office, according to court documents.
DuBois told the court Monday he was required to investigate the unauthorized access to the office under a state law regarding the protection of criminal files, Schuyler said. DuBois believed the request for a pistol-permit suspension was filed in retaliation, Schulyer said. The judge ruled in favor of DuBois, Schuyler said.
Nichols declined to comment on the hearing, except to confirm that DuBois’ pistol permit was restored.
As of 1 p.m. Friday, Schuyler had not received a response from the town’s attorney as to when and if DuBois might be reinstated.
DuBois also submitted a petition to the town to keep the police department, Schuyler said.
Multiple attempts to reach DuBois for comment were unsuccessful.
The vote to disband the town police department followed a June 26 assessment report, requested by Beaury and compiled by retired State Police Superintendent Harry Corbitt. He recommended shutting down the department, citing numerous deficiencies.
The town board has been in charge of the police department since it disbanded the Board of Police Commissioners in June.
DuBois worked for the Germantown Police Department for 23 years. He led the department for seven years.
To reach reporter Amanda Purcell, call 518-828-1616 ext. 2500, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or tweet to @amandajpurcell.