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Suffolk County,NY Executive Steve Levy removed all county police officers from patrol duty on the Long Island Expressway and Sunrise Highway at 10 a.m. Monday morning, the capstone in his battle to force the State Police to monitor the roads.

Patrols were immediately assumed by Suffolk County Sheriff's deputies, said Sheriff Vincent DeMarco, who had but a few hours notice of the move.

"Things happen, things come up," DeMarco said. "I understand why some decisions are made. All I care about is that the public is safe."

Levy said he is "very comfortable" with the move, which he said will maintain the same level of officers as have patrolled the roads since July 1, when Levy pulled 13 officers from the roads.

Levy said it costs $42,000 less to have deputies patrol the highways than it does Suffolk police officers.

"This will generate savings and provide savings while we await further action from the state," he said.

For months, Levy has been embroiled in a high-stakes game of chicken with state government officials. In April, he and Nassau County Executive Thomas Suozzi pledged to begin pulling their county police officers from the LIE if the state did not provide funding or state troopers to do the job.

In July, Levy pulled the first batch of officers from the roads, though
Nassau County has yet to act.
NEWSDAY
 

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Levy said it costs $42,000 less to have deputies patrol the highways than it does Suffolk police officers.

Guess that means MA isn't the only state threatened by this huh?...lol
 

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Hundreds of Suffolk County police officers filled a county legislative hearing Thursday to blast County Executive Steve Levy's decision to replace Highway Patrol officers on two state roads.

The officers cheered when their union leaders called Levy's move this week to assign sheriff's deputies to the Long Island Expressway and Sunrise Highway an underhanded effort to "dismantle" the police department.

But county and police brass who testified at the hearing before the Legislature's public safety committee said the plan was implemented Monday to save county residents money at a time when many are cash-strapped. The county officials also stressed that the deputies were up to the task.

"The manner in which it was handled was despicable," said Jeff Frayler, president of the Suffolk Police Benevolent Association, the department's largest union. "This appears to be a bullying tactic by County Executive Levy to dismantle the police department.

The hearing took place three days after sheriff's deputies relieved police officers from their posts starting Monday morning.

Levy's representatives said there will be little if any compromise on public safety and sheriff's department officials said the arrangement is designed as a stopgap measure that will be readily scuttled as soon as state officials begin taking responsibility for the two state roads.

"We decided to do this on an interim basis," said Undersheriff Joe Caracappa, a former legislator. "It would be great for us if we could see Highway Patrol back there this afternoon." He also said they would be happy to be relieved by any other law enforcement agency.

Deputy County Executive Ben Zwirn said Levy represents every Suffolk taxpayer and he urged everyone in the room to support Levy's effort to shift the patrolling burden back to the state.

"We're not trying to dismantle the department," he said, his testimony often interrupted by jeers from officers assembled at the rear of the room. "The county executive is trying to deliver a tax freeze when the people need it most."

But several legislators questioned Levy's math and the readiness of the sheriff's deputies who abruptly took on new responsibilities, saying any short-term savings could evaporate over time.

A spontaneous analysis by the Legislature's Budget Review Office came up with negligible savings, showing only $9,000 difference between the average salaries of deputies and police officers.

A key selling point of Levy's plan has been a $42,000 difference between the compensation packages of officers and deputies, and the fact that moving officers off the highways will create an increased police presence in communities.

Zwirn said the county would save millions over time by having to hire fewer new officers. Zwirn also said he found it unusual that "law enforcement officers were denigrating other law enforcement officers," referring to the criticism of sheriff's deputies who have been ordered to patrol the highways. Several speakers said the officers lacked the proper training and experience to do the job, but Zwirn said they are qualified.

"To get them up to speed will take a lot of money and a lot of time," said Legis. Daniel Losquadro. "There is no savings involved here. Nothing."

Legis. Lynne C. Nowick said whatever savings the plan could reap might not be worth a compromise in public safety as deputies adjust to new, if heavy, obligations and as they and their vehicles are outfitted with new equipment, which itself could cost money.

"Let's not save money at the cost perhaps of the life of someone's child," she said. "Let's choose to save money in the appropriate area. Let's not do it here."

As the factions continue to vie over the change, the police department moved to define its now-limited role on the highways in a memo distributed Wednesday.

The memo from Chief of Patrol Robert Ponzo to precinct and bureau commanders states: "Effective immediately, members of the Patrol Division will assist the Sheriff's Department . . . in emergency situations. Additionally, the Detective Division will be investigating fatal and [serious personal injury] motor vehicle crashes on these roads and as such, Crime Scene units will respond when requested."
NEWSDAY
 

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Doubts over N.Y. sheriff's deputies' ability to patrol 'The Big Road'

Some question whether Suffolk sheriff's deputies have proper training, equipment now that they have taken over patrolling LIE

By Erik German, Zachary R. Dowdy
Newsday

NASSAU COUNTY, N.Y. - To some of the officers who patrol the Long Island Expressway, it's known as The Big Road.
The name refers as much to the staggering traffic - more than 150,000 cars per day in some spots - as it does the sizable challenges of policing the highway's multiple lanes.
"You've got motorists that are broken down ... the HOV lane is a zoo, people zip in and out of there, the volume of traffic is an issue," said Donald Kane, a former Nassau police commissioner who led the county's highway patrol unit for several years in the 1980s. "In the years that I was up there we had a number of officers injured just doing their job."
The risks of patrolling one of the region's busiest corridors have become a topic of heated debate this month as black-and-white sheriff's deputy units replaced Suffolk County police cruisers all along the eastern half of the LIE and Sunrise Highway.
The question now is whether deputy sheriffs are up to the job.
Critics have said that the deputies lack the proper training to patrol such a busy highway, but supporters of County Executive Steve Levy's plan say the deputies are prepared for the task.
Deadlocked in a funding dispute with Albany, Levy pulled his police highway patrol units off the two state-owned roads on Sept. 15, and Suffolk sheriff's deputies immediately filled the void. Levy and Suffolk Sheriff Vincent DeMarco insist the deputies, who earn $42,000 per year less than county police officers, have all the training they need to safely perform highway duties.
'It's a very complex job'
Some law enforcement observers say the big road is a bad spot for on-the-job training.
"It's a very complex job up there," said Robert Creighton, a sergeant on the LIE before serving as Suffolk police commissioner in 1992. "You don't just ride up and down the highway and you don't just take a radar gun and write summonses. That's the least important role of the police on the expressway."
Sheriff's deputies attend the same academy as Suffolk police, but until now, the deputies spent most of their time serving orders of protection, transporting prisoners and evicting people.
"They all have the basic training necessary to handle most situations but when you're talking about traffic control and multiple accidents, we don't handle that on a regular basis," said a retired 20-year Suffolk deputy who, because of the controversy, declined to give his name. "It's not your primary function or your primary mission."
The portion of his former Suffolk colleagues who regularly do traffic patrols is "10 percent at most," the deputy said.
Deputies will no doubt learn the ropes, he said, but at the moment, "I don't know if they have all the training they need and I don't know if they have all the equipment they need. I doubt it very seriously."
Most Suffolk police officers spend several years in a precinct before being picked for highway duty, Creighton and others said, and even then there's more to learn.
"After three years there and after 30 years in the department, I was still learning things myself," said Kurt Paschke, 57, of Holbrook, a veteran Suffolk County highway patrol officer who retired in July. "There's a big difference between doing a traffic stop on a residential street compared to doing it on a roadway where the average speed is 70 to 75 miles an hour. It was tougher than I expected. It was a lot more involved than I expected."
A wide range of skills
Among other skills, officers must know how to shut down the expressway quickly, handle multi-vehicle accidents, treat crash victims as first responders, clear the lanes for helicopter landings and - in the event of really nasty pileups - herd traffic backward onto service roads. John Gallagher, who served as Suffolk police commissioner from 1997 to 2004, called that last task "an art in itself ."
But Levy argues that his opponents are overstating the difficulty of highway patrols for political gain.
"You have elements that are trying to scare the bejesus out of people because they don't want anyone stepping on their turf," Levy said. "I don't think the average person believes that it takes some kind of superhuman to pull someone over for speeding or for driving erratically."
The sheriff says his deputies are no stranger to traffic patrols. So far this year they have written 5,000 summonses, arrested 41 suspected drunken drivers and handled about 92 accidents.
"That's not an incredible number," DeMarco said of the accidents, "but they do handle them."
Each shift the sheriff's office deploys the same number of cars as the Suffolk police did - four on the expressway and two on the Sunrise Highway.
During rush hour, two Suffolk police cruisers paid for by New York State will continue patrolling the expressway HOV lanes.
The Sheriff's Office was adding equipment to deputy cars, including five radar guns it has on hand to catch speeders. Like the police, sheriff's highway units carry bottled oxygen, said Michael Sharkey, the sheriff's chief of staff. Unlike the police cruisers, deputy cars aren't yet equipped with defibrillators, he added, "but they will be shortly."
Sharkey dismissed critics who say the deputy cars' black paint jobs and lack of flip-up light bars make them less visible at night than Suffolk's white highway cruisers, which do have such lights. "The State Police don't have them and their vehicles are dark blue," he said.
Veterans of similar highway patrol takeovers elsewhere say the most crucial concern is making sure the transition is handled properly. In 1995, former California Highway Patrol commissioner Dwight Helmick oversaw his 9,000-member force's absorption of 500 state police with little highway experience. There were naysayers, he acknowledged, but he said keeping the organizations "talking closely during the transition" was key.
"Hopefully they focus on what's important," he said. "I hate to see traffic safety become a pawn in a political game."

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Sheriff's deputies attend the same academy as Suffolk police, but until now, the deputies spent most of their time serving orders of protection, transporting prisoners and evicting people.
"They all have the basic training necessary to handle most situations but when you're talking about traffic control and multiple accidents, we don't handle that on a regular basis," said a retired 20-year Suffolk deputy who, because of the controversy, declined to give his name. "It's not your primary function or your primary mission."
The sheriff says his deputies are no stranger to traffic patrols. So far this year they have written 5,000 summonses, arrested 41 suspected drunken drivers and handled about 92 accidents.
Really?!?! Wowee Kazowee!!!

"so far this year" = 273 days

5000 summonses / 273 = 18 a day for the whole depart. DAMN HAMMERS!

41 arrests / 273 = .15 a day.... I dont know how they find the time?

92 accidents / 273 = .33 crashes a day. Damn safest roads in America.
 

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Critics have said that the deputies lack the proper training to patrol such a busy highway, but supporters of County Executive Steve Levy's plan say the deputies are prepared for the task.

Levy and Suffolk Sheriff Vincent DeMarco insist the deputies, who earn $42,000 per year less than county police officers, have all the training they need to safely perform highway duties.

But Levy argues that his opponents are overstating the difficulty of highway patrols for political gain.

"I don't think the average person believes that it takes some kind of superhuman to pull someone over for speeding or for driving erratically."
Obviously the county exec and the sheriff made a drug deal to keep favors with each other, and Levy naively thinks speeding tickets is all the HP does. Once again we see outsourcing jobs to less qualified people for a lot less money.
 

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Once again we see outsourcing jobs to less qualified people for a lot less money.
'ello sir. My name is Deputy Sf;ljkf. You may call me Deputy Sam. May I please to help you today? To help you please I must need your driver identity document, your vehicle identity document please. We are chatting today sir, if you plese because you are driving your auto at 104 km/h... Oh. Begging your pardon Mr. Sir, 60mp/h in an area that has been limited to 40mp/h by the technical department.. Please prepare to reboot, if you please..
 
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Perhaps I'm oversimplifying this, but it seems rather logical;

1. Suffolk County Police pull all their officers off highway duty to force the NYSP to patrol the roads.

2. NYSP say they're not going to do it.

3. Suffolk County has an alternative (sheriff's department) so they use them rather than have no law enforcement whatsoever on the Long Island Expressway.

My question is; if Suffolk County has a police department, why do they also have a sheriff's department that goes on patrol? Talk about a duplication of services!
 

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My question is; if Suffolk County has a police department, why do they also have a sheriff's department that goes on patrol? Talk about a duplication of services!
ahem........ever heard of MASSACHUSETTS?
 
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ahem........ever heard of MASSACHUSETTS?
As much as we joke and toss hand grenades, we all know there are no sheriff's departments in Massachusetts that actually go out on regular patrol, never mind equipped to take over highway traffic enforcement, nor are there any county police departments.
 

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The officers cheered when their union leaders called Levy's move this week to assign sheriff's deputies to the Long Island Expressway and Sunrise Highway an underhanded effort to "dismantle" the police department.
By design, this operation is an overt attempt to cheapen the work done by the police department, not force the NYSP to work there. And when one steps down that slippery slope...next thing you know, the taxpayers will be voting on whether to keep a PD and a SD at the same time.
 
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