Sheriff's offices in Columbia and Greene counties and the Hudson Police Department have announced they are teaming up to better serve the community. Tanja Rekhi reports.

HUDSON, N.Y. -- When responding in rural Greene or Colombia counties, the calls could be far and wide for officers. In years past, departments often have had to rely on one another for any assistance. 

"9/11 taught us that we have to rely on nobody, we have to take care of our communities ourself," said Columbia County Sheriff David Bartlett. "And just like today, if I was to all for any assistance from state or federal, we wouldn't get it. Everyone is up in Clinton or Essex and Franklin looking for the escaped prisoners."  

And just like those tactical teams, combing the woods, officers in Greene and Columbia counties will be able to respond to special assignments more easily. The Columbia County Sheriff's Office, Greene County Sherif'fs Office and Hudson Police Department have formed a Shared Services Response Team.

It all started last summer when leaders realized they could do a lot more and meet state regulations by working together. Since then, they've been hammering out details that would allow them to share not only equipment, but manpower.

"This is a good way to save our communities money as far as within our budgets because we're able to reduce overtime," said Greene County Sheriff Greg Seeley. "And the bottom line is, what's best for the community and how we're taking care of the community and protecting it. 

Each department already had their own tactical teams for a number of years, but this allows them to respond to calls more efficiently and save on overtime costs. 

In the case of an incident, the operations would be run by the agency in which an incident happened but they would be able to use equipment and officers from other departments. 

As far as the leaders know, this is the first of its kind with different counties working together. They've already been helping each other out over the years.

Leaders said 9/11 and the continuing search for the two escaped North Country inmates has shown them that they really have to be able to take care of their communities.  And officers have already begun getting special tactical training. 

"We know best in our communities as far as what our communities need, whether it's Greene County, Colombia County or the city of Hudson. This is a win, win for everybody. It's going to save our budget, their budgets, the training is outstanding. These gentlemen train at least two or three times a month," said Seeley.

The new agreement will also allow the departments to apply for state and federal grants, making it possible for them to get new equipment they all know how to use with no impact on taxpayers.

"We wouldn't be able to do a special operations team on our own, so if it wasn't for the cooperation of all three departments we just couldn't get it done and the public would suffer," said Hudson Police Chief Edward Moore.

The sheriff also says there are no concerns about layoffs within the departments, it's just a matter of sharing resources and working more efficiently.