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BOE President NOT Looking for Peace Prize

Jack Abrams Intermediate

The Huntington Board of Education President, Bill Dwyer is looking for school district three members to stir things up and make some noise if you care about having more police services and the cleanup of Huntington Station. Here is the letter that was sent out today;

Today, Jay and I attended a meeting at County Executive Steve Levy’s office in Hauppauge to discuss the violent crime in Huntington Station.  The meeting was arranged by Supervisor Frank Petrone.

In addition to Jay and myself, meeting attendees included;

Steve Levy – County Executive

Bob Moore – Chief of Department, SCPD

Nick Mango – Chief of Patrol, SCPD

Gerry Gigante – Deputy Inspector, Gang Suppression Unit

Joe Blaettler – Inspector, 2nd Precinct

Lou D’Amaro – SC Legislator, 17th District

Frank Petrone – Huntington Supervisor

Mark Cuthbertson – Huntington Town Councilman

Laure Nolan – Huntington Deputy Supervisor

Justin Littell – Aide to Mr. D’Amaro

Lora Gellerstein – Aide to Jon Cooper

The meeting started with Mr. Levy stating that we are fine with the number of police on patrol.  While the overall head count in the department may be down, the percentage of police on patrol is higher (65%) which results in more police on the beat than in the past.  He also stated that the Gang Suppression Unit has had great success recently.

Mr. Petrone and Mr. Cuthbertson then described our problem in Huntington Station.  They were rather forceful in insisting that something be done.  Jay and I both augmented their statements by relaying how the problems impact the school district, and in turn, our entire community, not just Huntington Station.  I explained how the recent events have brought the community to a tipping point and that we will not be satisfied if we don’t see some significant structural changes by the police.  As evidence of the community support, I presented Mr. Levy with the petition presented to the BOE on Monday night.

At that point the discussion turned to various tactics that could be used to increase police presence or make their presence more persistent.  Topics discussed included bringing in the Auxiliary Police, setting up a sub-station, reassigning other SCPD units to our sector, and moving the sector shift change from the First Aid Squad to JAI.  The discussion was a healthy back-and-forth session with suggestions being offered by our various community representatives and the County representatives seriously engaged in the discussion.  Mr. Moore expressed doubts that the school could accommodate the shift change, however we insisted that he simply provide us with the list of requirements and allows us to decide if it’s feasible.  During the course of the discussion Jay presented the police with a list of 10 incidents that have all taken place recently in Huntington Station.  At the end of the discussion, Mr. Gigante stated, that “most all of the items on this list have been closed,” meaning that the alleged perpetrator had been apprehended.

The meeting ended with Mr. Levy asking that we give them until early next week to formulate a plan, at which time he will host a teleconference for us to reconvene.

My impression of the meeting is that Mr. Levy is taking our requests seriously…more so than our previous meeting.  The previous meeting (in the Spring) was attended by just he and Commissioner Dormer, and I think was held more as a courtesy to us than anything else.  That meeting ended with a photo op, this one was all business.  With our strong showing of local officials, he had a much more comprehensive police contingent there and they all appeared well prepared to discuss our situation.  I believe we have a good chance of getting a significant increase in police presence in the short term, to concentrate on attacking the gang problem in Huntington Station, and a possible, but less likely ability to get them to move the shift change to the neighborhood.  However, I think that it is imperative that we demonstrate to Mr. Levy that there are a large number of people in the community standing behind our push for more police services and a clean up of Huntington Station.  This can be most effectively accomplished by putting together an overwhelming turnout at his upcoming Community Forum Meeting to be held on Wednesday, Oct. 14, at 6 pm at John Glenn High School in East Northport.  I believe that the magnitude of the response we ultimately get from SCPD will in part, be proportional to the size of the showing we put on at his meeting next week.  So please spread the word that we now have the County Executive’s ear…it’s time to show up and be heard.

Bill (DWYER)

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