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Top cop, town clash over remarks on Huntington Station policing
Police Commissioner Richard Dormer, Huntington Supervisor Frank Petrone.
Some members of the Huntington Town board have taken exception to what Suffolk County Police Commissioner Richard Dormer told town residents at a community meeting on Wednesday about increased police patrols being temporary in Huntington Station.And Dormer has taken exception to that. A letter faxed to County Executive Steve Levy Thursday signed by Supervisor Frank Petrone and town board members Mark Cuthbertson and Stuart Besen, said, “We are deeply disturbed,” by statements attributed to Dormer who was quoted in Thursday’s Newsday saying “patrols cannot stay there indefinitely.” The letter goes on to refer to the article saying Dormer “reassures the criminal element” that recently heightened police activity is just temporary. Petrone and Cuthbertson did not attend the meeting; Besen made remarks at the beginning of the county-hosted community forum on various issues before leaving early. The letter also seems to take Levy to task for saying the situation is “not tolerable,” in Thursday’s article. “We agree that the situation is not tolerable,” the letter said. “Nor can we tolerate only temporary solutions to a problem that demands long-term commitment from all levels of government.” In response, on Friday Dormer sent Petrone a letter blasting him for not showing up to the meeting and going instead to the dedication of a ballfield. (Click here to see the letter from the Town Board members. And click here to see the letter from the police commissioner.)
“We’re extremely dismayed that you took the liberty of interpreting our comments in a manner that was without the benefit of you having heard the whole dialogue with the community for yourself,” Dormer’s letter said.As far as the county’s commitment to Huntington Station, Dormer said the board should not fret. “If you received the impression that there was going to be a mere walk-through of officers for a few days only to leave thereafter, you are highly misinformed,” the letter said.
Dormer’s letter went on to reiterate that additional resources would be placed in the area on a long-term basis and the desire of the county to place a permanent relief point at Jack Abrams Intermediate School, provided the town and school board secure appropriate approvals, the letter said.At the Wednesday meeting, residents voiced concerns about crime in the Huntington Station area, prompted in part by the shooting Sept. 1 of a man near the Jack Abrams Intermediate School on Lowndes Avenue.
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