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Jul 13, 2011 10:20 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Plan For Southampton Police Sector Car For Sagaponack Put On Hold

Jul 13, 2011 11:18 AM

New Southampton Town Police Chief William Wilson said this week that he is struggling to find ways to grow the town’s overburdened detective division and assign more officers to communities with a high volume of complaints or chronic traffic problems.

Chief Wilson said that the detective division is down to just five officers, when it should have 10 or 11. “They are carrying caseloads that are ridiculous,” he said on Monday at a meeting of the Sagaponack Village Board. “They have 50 to 60 cases each. One officer has 100 cases.”

But expanding the investigative division will be difficult, he noted, since putting more officers in detective’s suits will mean taking uniform officers from somewhere else. The department currently has 94 officers, including himself, the town’s smallest regiment in 15 or 20 years, the chief, a longtime Southampton Village Police officer, estimated. The department covers a region of 156 square miles, and stretches 30 miles from end to end.

“I’m impressed with the tempo at which the Town [Police Department] operates,” said Chief Wilson, who took charge of the department in May, “and the amount of work they push through with only 94 officers.”

The chief was at the Sagaponack Village Board meeting to discuss the assignment of an officer to solely patrol the small village, whose residents pay a combined $2 million per year in police taxes to the town for coverage. Currently the village is patrolled by a sector car that is also responsible for Bridgehampton and parts of southern Sag Harbor. The chief said he had hoped to have the dedicated officer assigned to the village from Wednesday through Sunday in the summertime, but that his staffing restrictions have forced him to set aside the assignment for the time being.

“I had it implemented for about a day, but then scheduling conflicts got the better of me,” Chief Wilson told the Village Board, which voted earlier this year to create a civil service position for a village constable, though members have said there are not plans to fill the position immediately. “That is ultimately where you should be … I will do everything in my power to ensure that you have the quality of police service you deserve, because you are paying for it.”

Over the past weekend, the chief said, he had a three-officer detail assigned to a traffic detail in the village and in one afternoon they wrote 35 tickets in just three hours on the village’s main road, Sagaponack Main Street.

“If they’re giving out that many tickets on one Saturday evening, you have traffic issues,” he told the board.

As he realigns his department, the chief said, he also hopes to be able to expand the Community Response Unit, a detail of officers who are given temporary assignments, typically two to three weeks, in a given community to increase enforcement and the visibility of police presence there, primarily to deter chronic speeding and traffic violations.

“Word will get out if you’re giving out 30 tickets a weekend,” Village Trustee William Barbour, himself a former Southampton Town Police officer, told the chief.

In addition to expanding the detective division and the Community Response Unit, the chief said he plans to have town officers participate in the East End Drug Task Force, a county investigative detail that his predecessor had pulled town officers off because of a staffing shortage. The chief said he also hopes to realign the patrol sectors for more efficient and effective coverage.

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Just what we need.. More cops out here.. Great...
By The Royal 'We' (199), Southampton on Jul 13, 11 11:43 AM
1 member liked this comment
I know there's a responsibility to the taxpayers but, do we really need to publish this? All it does is let people know that there's a greater chance you can't get away with breaking the law.
By itsamazing (224), Southampton on Jul 13, 11 12:12 PM
Last year when Chief Wilson was the Village Police Chief he met with the Sagaponack Mayor and the SHV Mayor to discuss having the Village or Southampton police the Village of Sagaponack. Now the Wilson is the Town Police Chief it's not such a good idea to have Southampton Village patrol the streets of Sagaponcack! Those back door deals need some sunshine.
By Scooby (12), Southampton on Jul 13, 11 5:26 PM
Does anyone else think that the 5 detectives are detecting over 300 cases is a bit ridiculous? Is he seriously saying there are over 300 open unsolved crimes currently in the Town that are being actively investigated? Seriously!?! What are they detecting? Why would a Town this size need 10 Detectives? Do we need a major case unit to track down someone who swiped an iPod out of some parked car with the top down? Lets not forget that Suffolk County PD takes jurisdiction for major crimes.
By ridiculous (214), hampton bays on Jul 13, 11 8:19 PM
Well cops on the roads are a greater revenue generator for the police department especially in the summertime. The detective work might be shifted to fall and winter when they can redeploy the force. Obviously, depending on the gravity of the case...Now if Sagaponack might be interested, there are private security companies that might be able to provide some services for them...
By Toma Noku (616), uptown on Jul 13, 11 8:21 PM
Heres an idea... bring in all the officers "out on medical" to come in and detect. Surely the Town can spring for some proper lumbar supported chairs and ergonomic keyboards so their injuries aren't exasperated.
By ridiculous (214), hampton bays on Jul 13, 11 8:22 PM
Wow. So the 57,000 year round residence in Southampton Town have 5 Detectives. But the 37,000 year round residence in Riverhead Town have 10??? Felony party at my house!!!! Wooo-whoo. Pssst... Ridiculous, my two year degree from Suffolk tells me that swiping an I-POD from a car isn't a felony, so the Detectives don't investigate that. Toma Noku, your idea is great too, lets go to the Hampton Bays area and commit some burglaries and not fret over it, as they won't start investigating it until ...more
By mightycolemack (15), Hampton Bays on Jul 14, 11 1:40 AM
You don't really expect the police to investigate crimes due to people's negligence? How serious are the crimes that are pending investigation? Like I said depending on the gravity of the case. If you wish to go to Hampton Bays a be a burglar that is your business. I am not going to be your accomplice.
By Toma Noku (616), uptown on Jul 14, 11 9:20 AM
Even better! So there are over 300 OPEN UNSOLVED FELONY Cases in this Town?!? Something is off with that number.
I'm sorry your 2 year degree from Suffolk didn't teach you anything about sarcasm.
By ridiculous (214), hampton bays on Jul 14, 11 5:58 PM