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Sep 4, 2012 5:20 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Mayor: Sag Harbor To See Smaller Police Force Near Start Of 2013

Sep 4, 2012 5:30 PM

The Sag Harbor Village Police Department will likely be smaller and running under the terms of a new police-protection agreement with one of three outside agencies by the beginning of 2013—around the same time the village begins arbitration with its police union over a contract dispute, Mayor Brian Gilbride said last week.

The specifics of any such arrangement remain to be hammered out, however.

East Hampton Town and the Suffolk County Sheriff’s office have already sent the village preliminary estimates about what it would cost for their services. Southampton Town was expected to submit its own estimate soon. Those estimates came in response to letters the village sent out in July, inquiring about the potential costs of contracting out for some or all of its police services.

According to copies of the letters, East Hampton was asked to provide policing for the East Hampton side of the village, while Southampton was asked to provide an estimate for policing the Southampton side of the village. The sheriff’s office was asked to provide a cost for policing the whole village.

Mr. Gilbride said the village is looking to pick just one of the three agencies and that any one of them could be asked to provide protection to the entire village or just part of it. He said he had yet to review the responses, but when all three are received, the Village Board would discuss them in a future executive session.

The village denied a Freedom of Information Request from The Press seeking the responses from each agency, saying they constituted inter- and/or intra-agency material that is exempt from disclosure.

Seeking outside protection is necessary, he said, because of rising costs and the contract impasse between the village and its Patrolman’s Benevolent Association, which has lasted for more than a year.

“Policing is getting to be very expensive on the East End. Everyone is looking to see what the other guy is making. The village has to do its due diligence,” Mr. Gilbride said. “And the fact that the union has a bunch of demands and is unwilling to move on any offer... . We’re looking to keep ahead of the curve.”

The mayor said the village pays an average of $178,000 to its officers each year. While he would not provide specifics on how much money he is looking to save or by how much he expects the force to be trimmed in size, he did say that if the PBA was to chip in toward its medical and retirement expenses—something he said the village now pays in full—“that would go a long way toward making it affordable for village residents.”

The mayor said he is seeking an intermunicipal agreement, rather than the dissolution of the department, but he would speak only in general terms about how such an agreement would work.
“They should be able to come in, handle calls, help with first responders, issue tickets on our local justice court, that’s pretty much it,” Mr. Gilbride said. Current officers would likely get laid off, though he would not estimate how many.

PBA President Pat Milazzo said in a recent interview that it would be hard to comment on an intermunicipal agreement “without seeing something in black and white.” He said morale in the department has been holding up well.

Michael Sharkey, chief of staff for Suffolk County Sheriff Vincent DeMarco’s office, noted that his office’s response is preliminary.
“Our proposal is initially rather generic because the driving force behind any contract services is the entity that’s looking for the service, so it’d have to be tailored to their wishes.”

Southampton Town Police Chief William Wilson Jr. said recently he was requesting certain payroll numbers from the town comptroller’s office and would be proposing coverage based on previous discussions with Mr. Gilbride and Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst.

“I’m not necessarily in favor of it or against it in any way,” Chief Wilson said. We’re perfectly happy to do it.”

East Hampton Police Chief Ed Ecker Jr. said he provided a tentative budget to Sag Harbor, but declined to discuss it.

The Sag Harbor Village Police Department has nine police officers, one detective, two sergeants and a police chief. The union includes all officers except the chief.

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This mayor is a clown, doesn't he know that the village of sagaponack pays more to the town of Southampton police for a part time sector car, then the entire budget for the 13 member sag harbor police dept. great idea, save no money and cut services, great way to get re-elected
By Clarity (65), Whb on Sep 6, 12 11:49 PM
This Mayor is blind in one eye and cant see out of the other,
where did the mayor get the rocks in front of his house where his daughter lives?
By john o (34), southampton on Sep 8, 12 9:16 AM