BRANTINGHAM — Despite having placed a temporary hold on Recreation Patrol activities due to the budgeting controversy with the Lewis County Board of Legislators, Sheriff Michael Carpinelli said he decided to check on the county’s two major lakes, Lake Bonaparte and Brantingham Lake, on the Fourth of July.
Sheriff Carpinelli said he went to Lake Bonaparte first to take a look around and see how lake traffic was panning out.
“It’s a much bigger lake with fewer boats and it seemed pretty calm,” Mr. Carpinelli said, “But on Brantingham, there was a lot more boats on a smaller lake and there were a lot of kids being towed behind boats.”
The sheriff said, after standing on the dock that normally has one of his department’s power boats tied to it for 20 minutes, he was “very, very concerned,” so he hooked up the trailer that held the boat to his truck to get the boat in the water and do a patrol.
Michael Leviker, head of the Recreation Patrol, said he answered the sheriff’s call to come on patrol with him out of dedication to his job, despite the fact he had been given the day off.
Together, they ran a patrol on the lake.
“It was a productive day,” Sheriff Carpinelli said, “We just gave out warnings. We were focused on safety.”
Mr. Carpinelli and Mr. Leviker also stopped two over-loaded pontoon boats, one with 20 people and another with 18, and ferried extra passengers to shore.
The Sheriff’s Office has its two most powerful boats each stationed at the lakes and under normal circumstances, Recreation Patrol officers would have the boats on the water for holidays and weekends.
Lake resident Dottie White said that although she didn’t see the patrol boat Thursday, she appreciated the patrol having a presence on the lake because it was a deterrent to people, even if the boat was just tied to a dock.
“We have a wonderful lake community and a wonderful, clean, safe lake. We want to keep this up,” Mrs. White said, “The patrol is a preventative thing, and that’s what it’s meant to be.”
Although there were no major incidents reported on the water at either major lake, a tragic accident between an ATV and a truck near Lake Bonaparte left the driver of the ATV dead and the passenger, seriously injured, medically evacuated to University Hospital in Syracuse.
In addition to suspending the Recreation Patrol, Sheriff Carpinelli had also said he would not be adding any extra deputies to cover the Lewis County Fair next week.
He announced to the county Board of Legislators in a special meeting Monday night that he has asked the state police to increase patrols to compensate at the fair.