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Mar 16, 2015 9:13 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Officials Concerned About Plan To Pull Desk Officer At State Police Barracks In Riverside

Mar 21, 2015 7:41 AM

Southampton Town and other officials are urging the New York State Police to reconsider a plan to eventually pull the desk officer from its Riverside barracks—a move that would result in all emergency calls being forwarded to Troop L’s headquarters in Farmingdale, and, most likely, also force the Riverleigh Avenue facility to be locked and dark at times.

While the proposed consolidation has been discussed for several years, it now appears to be gaining traction among State Police brass, and Captain David Candelaria, who leads the nearly three dozen State Troopers currently stationed at the Riverside barracks, said this week that his desk officer position could be eliminated before the start of the summer.

“Right now, headquarters is conducting a feasibility study to see if it will work,” Captain Candelaria said, explaining that officials still need to ensure that there are no radio dead zones in the area, and that the call box located outside the Riverside barracks works properly. “The purpose is to put more Troopers on the road.”

While they acknowledged that the change could happen this spring, State Police officials are insisting that the move does not include any long-term plan to close the Riverside barracks altogether, as has been widely speculated over the past few weeks.

“We are not considering closing the station,” State Police Lieutenant Jose Febo said. “There may be realignments coming down the road, but I can’t comment with specificity at this time.”

Troopers currently rotate between desk duty and patrolling the roads, with one officer always stationed at the barracks and with two or three others on the road at any given time, according to Captain Candelaria. If the new plan were enacted, he said, all Troopers assigned to the Riverside barracks would be out patrolling the roads, essentially forcing the locking down of the barracks.

“The station would be dark,” he said, explaining that would be the scenario when no one was inside the barracks. “If there’s a sergeant in the building, I’ll probably leave the door open. There’s a lot of little things to work out.

“But, yes,” he added, “the door will be locked.”

At the same time, all incoming emergency calls would automatically be forwarded to a dispatcher at the Troop L headquarters in Farmingdale—another change that does not sit well with Southampton Town officials.

Town Councilwoman Christine Scalera raised the issue with the Town Board recently and also penned a letter to State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle and State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. to alert the lawmakers of the potential impact of such a decision. Mr. Thiele said both he and Mr. LaValle are aware of the situation and are actively working to keep a body behind the desk in Riverside.

Specifically, Ms. Scalera said she is worried that the locking of the barracks, and the redirection of all calls to a dispatcher in western Suffolk County, could put East End residents at risk. For example, she said, someone sharing information from a caller might not be familiar with the East End’s side streets and private roads. “Having them dispatch to a street, if you don’t know the area, could be a problem,” she said.

For the time being, Captain Candelaria said the barracks will continue to have someone available to speak with those who enter the barracks. He noted that a “fair share” of people come to the building to file complaints, though only a fraction of those are reporting emergencies.

Though he understands the concerns that have been raised, Captain Candelaria said his Troopers are familiar with the community that they cover. “For dire emergencies, the community is going to have to understand that consolidated dispatch is the way of the future,” he said.

Still, Ms. Scalera said she is not pleased with the proposed changes. “A bell system … is not something that’s workable in that area,” she said. “Residents have to have easy access and feel like they have a safe haven to walk into.”

Ms. Scalera also expressed concern over the town’s ongoing plan to revitalize the hamlet of Riverside, saying that such moves by the State Police could be viewed as a blow to their efforts to clean up the area, reduce crime and attract new businesses.

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Interesting. We have the SHTP, the RHTP and for some investigations the SCPD and yet, according to elected officials, the people of Riverside need the State Police to "feel a sense of security". The duplication of services is costing the taxpayers fortune. Perhaps we could just get rid of the SHTP and contract with the state and save a ton of money.
By bird (824), Southampton on Mar 16, 15 11:36 AM
1 member liked this comment
Why do you think that would save money? It would require the same number of officers
By Nature (2966), Southampton on Mar 16, 15 11:53 AM
1 member liked this comment
Southampton Town PD? We are the farthest spot from the Southampton Town PD HQ.
Riverhead Town PD? We're in Southampton Town!
SCPD? Sure, long after something has a happened!
The County Sheriff's patrols roll from where???
I'm comforted by the presence of the Staties -- please don't reduce that presence!
By Frank Wheeler (1823), Northampton on Mar 16, 15 1:32 PM
1 member liked this comment
There's been more than one occasion in recent months where the location of the staties and their ability to respond has been instrumental in catching criminals or stopping crimes. And you gotta imagine that some people will think twice about committing crimes given the proximity of the staties.
By Nature (2966), Southampton on Mar 16, 15 2:46 PM
1 member liked this comment
You're by far closer than anything East of SH village.
By bird (824), Southampton on Mar 16, 15 8:20 PM
You eliminate the multiple bureaucracies and the costs associated with them not to mention the ridiculous salaries and pensions of local police.
By bird (824), Southampton on Mar 16, 15 8:25 PM
Don't be so sure about that... Union Yes.
By Nature (2966), Southampton on Mar 16, 15 8:47 PM
1 member liked this comment
And almost every municipality upstate, where NYSP is more common have tried this as well. The state is not going to provide PD to localities on their tab. RPD, does not work in Southampton, SCPD "investigators" are only used in case of arson, homicide, etc. And at any point there are probably only 3-4 troopers on duty on the east end.
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Mar 16, 15 12:35 PM
1 member liked this comment
Also the troopers patrol sunrise and the LIE on the east end AND are needed to respond to the Shinnecock Reservation - where other PD's have on jurisdiction
By Nature (2966), Southampton on Mar 16, 15 12:51 PM
1 member liked this comment
You would have to contract with the state for local coverage and the state would have to provide additional coverage.
By bird (824), Southampton on Mar 16, 15 8:32 PM
1) your taxes are not affected regardless of the staffing of Troopers. The Troopers cost us nothing.

2) they are not closing the station, THEY ARE LOCKING THE FRONT DOOR. Big difference.

3) Walk into the barracks and tell me you see a Sgt... TROOPERS sit at the desk not Sgts. There is no SGT position.

PRESS: Get the facts please and ask the correct questions. Remember when you interview the Troopers they are answering the question you ask and not elaborating any more. ...more
By SHTownHB (75), Hampton Bays on Mar 18, 15 11:56 AM
Who pays for the Troopers?
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Mar 19, 15 9:32 AM
State felt the area was too dangerous to keep police there
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Mar 18, 15 6:21 PM
1 member liked this comment
The area in question is like the Wild West, street crime, prostitution and open air drug dealing are all rampant. The Troopers need an increased presence , including a 24/7 desk officer and open doors! The SHTPD needs all the help it can get in da hood.
By bigfresh (4591), north sea on Mar 18, 15 6:38 PM
1 member liked this comment
None of what you state is anywhere near true.
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Mar 19, 15 9:31 AM
Unfortunately, Blank, it's nearer true than not. And not just because we had a high profile drug house here last year. I know -- I live in the area.
By Frank Wheeler (1823), Northampton on Mar 21, 15 11:49 PM
Get rid of the Jail get rid of the problems, At the very least pass a law that forces released prisoners to be dropped back off where they were arrested and stop the influx of bad operators on our streets
By 27dan (2812), Shinnecock Hills on Mar 22, 15 11:02 AM
It is amazing how misinformed the public is. Just because your on sunrise highway and see a State Trooper sitting in the median doing radar doesn't mean that's all they do. In fact, they have picked up many of Southampton Towns calls due to their lack of police (which we pay for in our taxes). The State Police have been a huge asset to our Town when our Town has lacked response.

I myself called 911 and waited over an hour for a patrolman and due to the wait I called the State and they ...more
By Turtlesaver (5), Southampton on Mar 18, 15 9:35 PM
1 member liked this comment
Your statement that you waited for an hour for response to a legitimate 911 call, makes the rest of your post questionable.
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Mar 19, 15 9:31 AM
Blank - I gotta side with Turtle. It depends where you are in the Town but there are some places where the police will take a very long time to reply to a *non-emergency*. When I lived in Flanders the cops responded very quickly (because there were patrol cars in the area). I've called the police from Water Mill and North Sea (non-emergency) and it took quite some time to respond, and I'm assuming it's because the patrol cars are stretched so thin
By Nature (2966), Southampton on Mar 19, 15 10:42 AM
But I'm Blank: when it's June, a Saturday Night and a non emergency noise complaint about a youthful party with drugs and alcohol... They take over an hour to respond because they categorize what call is more important rather then what call is next in line. Southampton Police have dragged their feet when it comes to the weekend summer nights.
By Turtlesaver (5), Southampton on Mar 19, 15 10:21 AM
I double checked, yes indeed I did say "legitimate 911 call", not a noisy party. June on a Saturday night? Sorry but the party crowd is in Montauk. Have you been in Hampton Bays on a Saturday night in summer? Its dead.
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Mar 19, 15 11:04 AM
Riverhead News Review reports they are having trouble hiring a dispatcher and here it states they are looking to consolidate dispatchers - which is it?
By Undocumented (3), Southampton on Mar 19, 15 12:23 PM
What does Riverhead PD and its hiring issues have to do with the State PD?
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Mar 19, 15 1:05 PM
No idea since you are the only one mentioning Riverhead PD. I assumed the intelligent folk reading and commenting on an article about the State Police would understand whom I was referring to when I indicated "they". Hope that helps!
By Undocumented (3), Southampton on Mar 19, 15 11:31 PM
The first comment refers to RHPD. Reasonable assumption that is Riverhead PD.
Mar 22, 15 9:14 AM appended by But I'm a blank!
And "undocumented" referred to hiring of Police Dispatchers for Riverhead Town, which has nothing to do with state PD
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Mar 22, 15 9:14 AM
So I referred to a news outlet that has "Riverhead" as part of its name, and somehow you read that as Riverhead PD. Im still looking for where it says " hiring of Police Dispatchers for Riverhead Town" anywhere in my first or second comment. In case you weren't aware of it, RIVERHEAD NEWS REVIEW reports on any and all arrests and or incidents handled by the State Police which involve RIVERHEAD Town residents. Had you gone online or purchased the RIVERHEAD NEWS REVIEW, you would have been able to ...more
By Undocumented (3), Southampton on Mar 23, 15 12:32 PM
had you defined who the "they" was in the article, it would have been much clearer.
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Mar 23, 15 2:00 PM
But I'm blank:

I double checked, yes indeed your arrogant comment of trying to characterize what 911 call is legit or not shows your lack to stay on point to what the real topic of the article is about.
By Turtlesaver (5), Southampton on Mar 19, 15 3:30 PM
2 members liked this comment
I guess you mean "shows your lack (of ability) ......
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Mar 23, 15 2:01 PM
Read this slowly turtlesaver.....
You posted that you called 911 and waited and hour before deciding to call State PD who responded in 10 minutes. I called you out as I do not believe that you had a legitimate 911 call. Others piped in and didn't comment on a 911 call, but calls in general. There is a distinct difference, And if you waited an hour for a response to a legitimate 911 call, and did not follow up inside of that hour, I have to seriously question if it was a real emergency. There ...more
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Mar 19, 15 4:26 PM
"There" are emergencies and "There" are non emergencies. So read this slowly Blank....learn where to use the right context of "there, their, and they're" when you write!!
By Turtlesaver (5), Southampton on Mar 20, 15 10:43 PM
Good comeback. Your point is?
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Mar 22, 15 9:16 AM
Capehart: I Said "Hands Up, Don't Shoot" Was Built On A Lie Because It Was a Lie
By 27dan (2812), Shinnecock Hills on Mar 22, 15 10:59 AM
If you seriously think that dispatching is an issue with ALL the technology we have then your knee jerk reaction is clearly aligned with Chicken Little. Can a mistake be made?..yes. Reality is it would be more the mistake of the caller not the dispatcher. It's one desk jockey...it is not disbanding the National Guard. You people gotta chill. I'd imagine there's be some sort of vocalized outrage if they wanted to add a body. Same outrage...flip side of the issue.

The overlapping ...more
By Hambone (513), New York on Mar 23, 15 6:34 PM
1 member liked this comment
If there is a "body" in the building, it doesn't change anything. There is either a Trooper available or there isn't. If the body inside is a Trooper, he isn't going to leave his post to respond to a call. It depends on who is available on the road. Having the building there makes no difference in NYSP response time. If he is dispatched from Farmingdale or Orient, it all depends on where the Trooper is when the call is assigned.
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Mar 24, 15 3:19 PM
The Riverside neighborhood surrounding the State Police Barracks is incredibly dangerous at night and in the early morning hours. We NEED those Troopers on the road and available for serious calls. They don't need to be setting up stings at local convenience stores busting cashiers for selling alcohol to underage kids - leave that for the NYS Liquor Authority! There are DWI's, Fatal Collisions, and Serious Crimes which need investigation. A civilian employee could always 'man the desk' at night. ...more
By JaredRing (2), Jamaica Estates on Mar 28, 15 3:11 AM
OTB should build a casino in the neighborhood...That'll get more cops in the area.
By Mouthampton (437), Southampton on Mar 31, 15 1:06 PM
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