Cameras beef up program security

Contributed photoOfficer Scott Yates, Town Justice Tanja Sirago and Officer Tom Plank at Hannaford’s Drug Take Back Day in October.

CAIRO — The Cairo Police Department is making improvements to its Drug Take Back program, the department’s top officer said Wednesday.

Funded by a CVS Safer Communities Grant, the police department’s medication disposal bin was installed in 2017.

With the help of the local Hannaford, a $1,000 donation allowed the department to improve the security of the program by installing surveillance cameras.

The eight-camera system was installed about two weeks ago, Officer-in-Charge and Sgt. Richard Busch said Wednesday.

“The cameras are positioned in a manner to follow the contents of the disposal bin,” Busch said. “The whole activity is recorded on camera from the bin to the storage room.”

The service remains fully confidential, Busch said.

“It is totally anonymous,” he said. “The cameras are not used to track who is disposing of medications.”

The police department has more improvements in the works for the program, Busch said.

“Within the next week the medication disposal bin will be bolted to the floor in the entrance [of the police station] so between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., people can dispose of medications even if no one is there,” Busch said.

In addition to managing the bin at the police station, the department holds Drug Take Back Days every six months, alternating between CVS and Hannaford, Busch said.

“We get such a large response to that,” Hannaford store manager Jim Purdy said Wednesday.

When the police department made a donation request to Hannaford to improve the security of the collection at the station, Hannaford was happy to help, Purdy said.

“We value our partnership with local police and our commitment to the Cairo community,” he said.

The Cairo Police Department was among 35 organizations in the Hudson Valley that Hannaford supported in 2019, Purdy said.

“We are happy to help keep the community safe,” he said. “We want to get unused drugs into a safe place.”

The Cairo Police Department has an excellent working relationship with Hannaford.

“We have a great relationship with Hannaford,” he said. “They really step up to the plate when it comes to the community.”

The drug take back program has been effective, Busch said.

“Every six months we dispose of six to nine cases of medications,” he said.

The cases can hold 20 to 40 pounds of medications each, depending on the type of medication, Busch said.

“The majority of medications are from family members whose relative passed away,” he said.

Overall, public awareness about the addictive qualities of prescription medications has increased and people more readily dispose of them, Busch said.

Residents are also more aware about the dangers of medications getting into water systems if they were to flush medications, Busch said.

Community members can also dispose of medications at the Greene County Sheriff’s Office in Coxsackie, Busch said.

Syringe disposals are available at both CVS and Hannaford, he said.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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