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Aug 7, 2013 10:59 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

A Night On Patrol With The Southampton Town Police

Aug 7, 2013 10:59 AM

The patch of woods along the Peconic River where prostitutes take their johns.

The block with the known gang hideout.

The vacant house where junkies squat, stash and shoot up.

Bryan Cobb knows these spots in the hamlets of Flanders and Riverside like the back of his hand, like he’s been here his whole life.

That’s because he has.

A lifelong Flanders resident, Officer Cobb has been a member of the Southampton Town Police Department since 2008 and has spent many of his shifts patrolling the neighborhoods he grew up in, an area of the town that’s diametrically opposed to almost every stereotype attached to “The Hamptons.”

Officer Cobb tackled one of these shifts on Friday evening as he rolled through the normal hotbeds of nighttime activity in the Flanders-Riverside sector of town. Throughout the night, he made five traffic stops for various minor offenses—a broken plate lamp here, not wearing a seatbelt there, car windows that were illegally tinted, a muffler that was too noisy, and speeding—but he wrote no citations this night. Rather, he let the offenders off with stern warnings and demands that they fix the violations and slow down.

For him, there are bigger problems to focus on than traffic infractions and vehicle code violations, namely narcotics.

“I’m not just out here to write tickets for DWIs or watch the clock and collect a paycheck,” he said as his patrol continued on Friday.

For him, it is much more personal. It’s a challenge to find the more serious offenders and clean the streets of drugs in his hometown. Police can, and do, find drugs anywhere, he said, although he acknowledges that Riverside and Flanders do have more problem areas than the rest of the town, much of which he attributes to spill-over from nearby Riverhead.

Officer Cobb said he makes about nine or 10 arrests a month, noting that many are drug-related and most stem from those seemingly minor traffic stops, anything that gives him a chance to talk to people.

“You can tell a lot from talking to somebody,” he said. “Everybody is nervous when they get pulled over, but some people are extra nervous, and there are other things I’ve learned to look for.”

The radio was quiet for much of the night, at least in his sector of the town on Friday. There were no noise complaints or reports of erratic drivers. Instead, Officer Cobb drove through the darkened streets around Wildwood Lake in Northampton and later took to alleyways around the Riverside traffic circle on foot, searching for suspicious activity.

He prefers it this way. He explained that he likes having the freedom to chase down his own leads without being tied up by smaller incidents.

Headlights off, Officer Cobb pulled into a driveway off the traffic circle that opened up to a parking lot. It was about 10 p.m. He then made his way through the shadows and toward the woods to the rear of the lot, where an opening in the fence provided him with a spot to scale a wall and access a small knoll behind a Valero gas station—a common hangout for druggies and winos, Officer Cobb explained. It was also a prime vantage point for spotting other illegal activity in the area.

After observing nothing suspicious, Officer Cobb moved on to the next parking lot over. As he rolled through in his sector car, he came across four men, all with open alcohol containers, standing together. As he circled past and approached the lot’s exit, one of the men let out a cry that mimicked a bird’s coo—a gang call, Officer Cobb said, likely alerting others of his presence. Officer Cobb radioed a nearby Community Response Unit, requesting backup so he could approach the group, but none was available. He deemed the task to risky for a lone officer, so he opted to continue his patrol.

It was a slow night in the sector otherwise, at least during the Friday night shift. Absent were belligerent subjects and the foot chases, making the ride-along experience far different from those depicted on reality TV—with the exception of one woman who flashed her breasts at a pair of officers while they searched her during another officer’s traffic stop.

Officer Cobb made no arrests that night. No shots were fired and no one tried to flee. Still, the shift was an eye-opening experience not for the major incidences, but for the subtleties that go into policing such an area.

Officer Cobb could point out a known drug trafficker hanging out by a bus stop and a gang leader waiting in line at the McDonald’s drive-thru window. He swept just about every dead-end street in Flanders in a manner of 30 minutes and from the corner of his eye could spot a reason to pull someone over.

Officer Cobb said he prefers the night shift. When most cars have left the roads and most people are in bed, he’d rather be in his car, patrolling the streets, searching for drugs and trying to arrest the people who are dealing them.

“When the sun goes down, that’s when the animals come out,” he said.

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Great news article! Excellent work ethic and get-it-done attitude by Police Officer Bryan Cobb! Working hard to help to clean up our neighborhoods!
By Linda Kabot (14), Quogue on Aug 9, 13 9:23 AM
Good morning, wondering if you are going to reply to the comments about your proposal to pave the LIRR tracks by CR39; and how the East End Shuttle concept, and the MTA scoot trains, could be utilized to help ease the morning and afternoon commute traffic.

Thank you.
By PBR (4952), Southampton on Aug 9, 13 12:45 PM
Hello PBR, yes - I do support intra-hamlet shuttle service - however, I am not so confident that the MTA-LIRR will make the necessary commitment to provide such service on the East End, despite receiving several millions in mortgage tax revenues and other funding from our area annually directed to the MTA by way of state laws (e.g. telephone bill surcharges, etc).
By Linda Kabot (14), Quogue on Aug 9, 13 8:01 PM
Thank you. Perhaps you could reply to questions about the feasibility of paving a portion of the LIRR tracks, under your original post there?

Is this really a workable plan? The details were not that clear IMO.

http://www.27east.com/news/article.cfm/East-End/28245/Southampton-Town-Officials-Float-Ideas-To-Help-Alleviate-Traffic-Following-Serious-Accidents?message=commentlikeposted

Thank you.
By PBR (4952), Southampton on Aug 10, 13 5:34 AM
Sorry for getting off-topic on this. Ditto to Linda Kabot's comments about Officer Cobb. Well done indeed.
By PBR (4952), Southampton on Aug 10, 13 5:50 AM
So - in contravention of what HHS says, LK DOES like the STPD? Despite the past head-hunt?
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Aug 9, 13 9:34 AM
This is a really nice article and shows some great reporting by the Press, not only in how it's written but the subject matter and showing this side of "the hamptons". I appreciate the hard work of Officer Cobb, along with the hard work of every other officer in the Town. They get beat up pretty well on the boards, but the people crying afoul about their deserved pay checks don't have to leave their families at night to look for drug users and gang bangers in Riverside.
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Aug 9, 13 11:31 AM
to Nature:

Now, now, you're being naughty again, making up stuff about what I have said and about Linda Kabot's attitude towards the cops.

As demonstrated by her comments, Ms. Kabot appreciates good police work, as do I. However, the repeated STPD scandals making the headlines over the past few years were NOT about good police work, and one good officer's performance negate the necessity of a thorough housecleaning.

Finally, at $150K/yr., Officer Cobb is still being ...more
By highhatsize (4183), East Quogue on Aug 9, 13 12:19 PM
"Finally, at $150K/yr., Officer Cobb is still being ...more paid more than twice as much as he should, good man though he may be."

Which is your opinion. Please remind me what you base your "acceptable pay scale as per HHS" on again? Thanks.
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Aug 9, 13 12:25 PM
Possibly that average per capita income in Suffolk County is 35k per annum, and his compensation is more than quadruple the average of those who finance the department?

Per capita seems pretty low considering how well trickle down economics works...
Aug 9, 13 12:39 PM appended by Mr. Z
Just for good measure, 37k is also the per capita income for Southampton Town as well. That's straight from the 2010 Census data.
By Mr. Z (11670), North Sea on Aug 9, 13 12:39 PM
1 member liked this comment
And the average person isn't risking their lives, working holidays, odd hours, 12 hours shifts etc. etc. when they put on their work clothes.

Look, he can believe that $75k is fair until his face is blue, but unless he justifies his logic it holds no water weight (mixin' metaphors baby)
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Aug 9, 13 2:53 PM
Also - I should have done this earlier knowing HHS's penchant for exaggeration and hyperbole (especially when in the context of the STPD), BUT the salary for Officer Cobb in 2013 is $92,508, not "$150k/yr" as stated above by HHS (with no qualifiers, add-ons or other explinations).

In 2012, Officer Cobb made: $81,582
In 2011, Officer Cobb made: $68,696
In 2010, Officer Cobb made: $52,661
In 2009, Officer Cobb made: $20,063

So, what does that all mean? Officer Cobbs ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Aug 9, 13 3:07 PM
When was the last time an SHTPD officer was killed on duty?

Or, better yet when was the last time an NYPD officer (who earns considerably less) was killed while on duty?

Maybe I'm not average, but I've done more than my fair share of 12 hr+ shifts. We work every holiday, except Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, New Year's Day, and Easter Sunday year in, and year out. Services we perform have us rising from bed before 5 AM on average, and even clocking in at midnight every Monday ...more
By Mr. Z (11670), North Sea on Aug 9, 13 3:32 PM
1 member liked this comment
And you're not average.

All I'm trying to say is that it makes sense (to me) that police officers make more than the average joe, due to the duties they perform and inherent risks they encounter.

SHTPD is a relatively "safe" job - but part of that could be attributed to how good of a police force they are, no? Look at the article above as proof. This cop isn't dumb enough to approach 4 known gang members by himself in the dark - maybe a lesser police force would and that would ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Aug 9, 13 4:01 PM
Average per capita in the Bronx is less than 20k a year, even if you discount the under 18 population.

Crime rate has far more to do with economics, than it does the quality of your police officers. Does the force do a good job for the most part? Sure. The few bad apples have not spoiled the bunch. What I will say is that brokering people into poverty indubitably invites crime, and malfeasance.
By Mr. Z (11670), North Sea on Aug 9, 13 4:26 PM
1 member liked this comment
I Just Heard On The Radio That The Nypd Tops Out At Over 96000 After 5 Years And Thats Without Overtime And Benefits. Recheck Your Source.
By khan (36), hampton bays on Aug 15, 13 11:14 PM
Who are you to designate anyone's salary, except your employees (if you happen to own a business)?
By Allergic2Stupidity (77), Riverhead on Aug 16, 13 8:25 PM
to Nature:

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for a police officer is $55,010 per year and $26.45 per hour. Let's pay our cops $70,000 since it costs more to live here while capping pay at $90,000 (as does the NYPD.) Who could object to that?

(Officer Cobb would be making less than the median because he has only been on the job for five years. Were he an NYPD officer, he would currently be taking in $69,000/yr instead of $150,000.)
Aug 9, 13 3:21 PM appended by highhatsize
I see that Nature has added his habitual misinformation about the STPD while I was typing the above answer. As the Southampton Town website payroll chart shows, even a FIRST year STPD officer costs the town $100K. By comparison, an NYPD officer's TOTAL pay (including those "add-ons" that Nature likes to omit) is but $69,000 after FIVE years. The disparity is an awe-inspiring tribute to the STPD PBA.
By highhatsize (4183), East Quogue on Aug 9, 13 3:21 PM
Thanks for explaining it - your assertion seems "fair". But won't you cry foul about OT and benefits???

Nice cop-out (no pun intended) on admitting you're way off base and completely wrong regarding his salary.

By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Aug 9, 13 3:32 PM
Hat,
You have been taken to school on this issue numerous times. There is no provision for a blogger to enact "Let's pay our cops blah blah blah" As provided for in the NYS Taylor Law, if you are so hell bent on reforming police salaries, bottom line is you are going to have to start with Nassau and Suffolk PDs. Period. Your BLS (Something other than Bureau of Labor Statistics comes to mind dealing with bovines) numbers are again, irrelevant in the state of NY.
Mr. Z. no where in the Taylor ...more
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Aug 9, 13 3:47 PM
1 member liked this comment
BIB, I work those hours to pay the bills. Nothing abusive about it. It's what the cost of living requires to try and have something decent.

Income of persons 15 and over are included in "per capita income". Persons under 18 comprise 21% of the population, which is a negligible impact. Removing that 21% bumps it to a hair over 40k. Is that less misleading?



Via the U.S. Census Bureau:

Per capita income is the mean money income received in the past 12 months ...more
Aug 9, 13 4:14 PM appended by Mr. Z
And, BTW, would you tell a cop "to get another job" because of similar circumstances? BS cop out attitude and ideal, pal...
By Mr. Z (11670), North Sea on Aug 9, 13 4:14 PM
And, BTW HHS - your numbers, *(again)* are blatantly wrong.

Your info on NYPD compensation (I presume) comes from the nypd recruit website, which shows that:
@ year 5 compensation = $56,609 base pay, $69,005 "total pay"

You then claim that SHTPD = $100k at the same time differential.

This is where it gets fun. Using the same NYPD Recruit site, if you add just SIX months of time (5.5 years) you get a base pay of $76,488 (already OVER your $70k you suggest for SHTPD) ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Aug 9, 13 4:15 PM
1 member liked this comment
"income is not collected for people under 15 years old even though those people are included in the denominator of per capita income"
That statement alone negates the reliability and value of your numbers.

I was addressing the data you provided, not your circumstances. There is no attitude here. But yes, if a cop was working the hours and days you mention, without appropriate renumeration he or she should get another job.
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Aug 9, 13 5:43 PM
The proper adjustment was made to suit your fancy. 40k.

Sorry if it doesn't suit your fancy...
By Mr. Z (11670), North Sea on Aug 11, 13 4:11 PM

to Nature:

http://www.southamptontownny.gov/ftp/Budget/2012/ADOPTED/-17-2012-ADOPTED-Police.pdf
-and-
http://www.southamptontownny.gov/filestorage/72/837/4262/6875/16-TownPolice-x.pdf

Keeping one's eye on the ball (rather than being misled into addressing the diversionary misstatements, misapprehensions, and unsupported suppositions in your response) the above links to the Southampton Town website show that a FIRST year STPD cop costs us $100K, the lowliest FIVE ...more
By highhatsize (4183), East Quogue on Aug 10, 13 1:50 AM
2 members liked this comment
All are encouraged to open the two PDF document links above, and look at the Total Comp. & Benefits column on the right. [pp. 4-8 in the first PDF, and pp. 7-11 in the second PDF] -- [The formatting and column titles work better in Adobe Reader than in Firefox FYI]

Wow!

By PBR (4952), Southampton on Aug 10, 13 7:35 AM
What "manipulation?" The law is the law, and PBAs throughout Long Island have obviously used it to their members benefit. Every one of your "previously discussed" "innovative strategies" has been demonstrated to you to be nothing more than your bloviating attempts at attention.
Have a pleasant day.
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Aug 10, 13 9:18 AM
HHS - master of misleading the public and comparing apples to oranges.

http://www.nypdrecruit.com/benefits-salary/overview and click on "5.5 years" to see the numbers I cited above. All the other information I said can be found below that.

So again, let's recap. You stated above that SHTPD should make more than NYPD because it's more expensive to live here.

5.5 years in @ NYPD = ~ $90k/year in base pay + holiday/night/longevity/
5.5 years in SHTPD = $109k/year ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Aug 10, 13 10:03 AM
Is everyone done complaining and bickering over salary? Let's see half of us be willing to do that work, in those conditions and hours. Thank you to 27east for doing a POSITIVE article about our local police instead of the constant barrage of negative press. There are a lot of good police officers in this town and far outweigh the few sour grapes that have come and gone. Politics doesn't have to control every article. I hope more articles like this can continue in the future.
By HBGuy (14), Hampton Bays on Aug 10, 13 5:49 AM
Well said, and well done by Officer Cobb.
By PBR (4952), Southampton on Aug 10, 13 5:52 AM
to Nature:

STILL keeping one's eye on the ball, we see in the above Southampton Town salary chart that a sergeant can cost the town $200K after only ten years. Do such individuals exist in the NYPD? Please point us toward the relevant site for comparison (one with actual facts rather than data from which you infer facts.)

(Your entire penultimate post is based on your misreading of mine, to wit:

"Your info on NYPD compensation (I presume) comes from the nypd recruit ...more
By highhatsize (4183), East Quogue on Aug 10, 13 1:22 PM
1 member liked this comment
The number you are using ($150,000) includes many other costs that are NOT factored into the NYPD cost. When you add them up - they're nearly equal.

Your original argument was about 5 year STPD vs. NYPD. Now we are talking about sergeants?
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Aug 10, 13 8:53 PM
to Nature:

Quote: "The number you are using ($150,000) includes many other costs that are NOT factored into the NYPD cost. When you add them up - they're nearly equal."
- - -
So you assert, without providing any substantiation of your opinion whatsoever. Given your carelessness with data, confidence in you conclusion is not high.
By highhatsize (4183), East Quogue on Aug 11, 13 12:35 AM
I need to remind myself that no one wins when arguing on the internet. Peace out HHS
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Aug 11, 13 8:45 AM
2 members liked this comment

I commend Bryan Cobb for getting out of his car at night in Riverside, where there has been plenty of violence towards police.
More so than any other surrounding area, not including riverhead.

Starting way back and still a problem in the present.
Here are some examples:
• A two hour gunfight on vail avenue where a man fired hundreds of rounds at police.
• A shotgun was pointed at an officer on Old Quogue Road, at a domestic incident.
• Old ...more
By Gho$t (2), Riverside on Aug 12, 13 1:03 PM
1 member liked this comment
edit: * Almost everyone else on the force seems to be afraid of.
By Gho$t (2), Riverside on Aug 12, 13 1:06 PM
Shocking that all those crimes would occur in a neighborhood which abuts a jail. Really, go figure!

Thanks Gho$t for pointing out the risks these officers face - despite working in what many believe to be a "cushy" and sleepy job/town
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Aug 12, 13 1:17 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By SHTownHB (75), Hampton Bays on Aug 13, 13 11:26 PM
HHS Your Way Off On Your Numbers And Info. I Did Check Nypd Recruit .Com. Blastphemer!!! By The Way I Now My Typing Is Horrible But The Keys Stuck!
By khan (36), hampton bays on Aug 15, 13 11:20 PM
1 member liked this comment
That's a great story, I find it incredible that officer Cobb now protects and serves where he used to live! Its truly inspiring!
By Water Mill Navy (4), Soutahmpton on Aug 16, 13 9:43 AM
2 members liked this comment
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