From left, Council President Rachel Slater, Councilmen Anthony Nasisi and Robert Gunderman, and Mayor Steve Ciasullo listen to Sergeant Joseph Sanfilippo present the 2017 Distracted Driving Grant.
By Vera Olinski
OGDENSBURG — Sergeant Joseph Sanfilippo discussed on Jan. 23 the 2017 state police enforcement grants. He also received council approval to apply for the “2017 Distracted Driving Grant: You text, you drive, you pay.” The $5,500 program is from April 1–21, covering 100 hours of police work, at $55 per hour. Sanfilippo explained, if the grant application is accepted by the state — and the town agrees to pay the remainder — it will cost the town around $10 or $11 per overtime hour. Sanfilippo continued, in 2017, he hopes to apply for a total of four grants: two DWI's, “Click it or Ticket,” and the “Distracted Driving Grant,” totaling $22,000. Mayor Steve Ciasullo said if it were not for Sanfilippo, the borough would not receive the grants. He added, they had never applied for the grants before Sanfilippo was part of the Ogdensburg Police Force. Sanfilippo further explained, because of the grants in 2016, the borough had received 100 hours of overtime at $13 an hour. In 2016, the state paid $50 per hour and not $55. Councilman Anthony Nasisi said it is phenomenal when looking at the usual rate of pay. Sanfilippo said, for the DWI grant, the officers worked from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m., during a two- or three-week period. He explained, in order to fit in 25 extra hours, the four officers worked almost every night. He added the police force really went after accomplishing the grants, which is why he thought it is appropriate to pay the full overtime rate. Ciasullo said, there were obviously a lot of benefits for the borough: making an impact on people driving through Ogdensburg and promoting safety. Sanfilippo concluded, another bonus of having officers available when needed was not having to wait for officers or another town to arrive in case of an emergency. He explained, the drowning last year occurred on a grant day, so four officers were available in seconds and in the water within four minutes.