Muttontown to have its own village police

The Old Brookville Police Department in Glen Head. The Old Brookville Police Department in Glen Head. (March 23, 2011) Photo Credit: Jason Andrew

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A Muttontown village police department now exists -- at least on paper.

At a long and contentious meeting Thursday night, the village board let stand Tuesday's vote to create its own department, effective Friday.

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The meetings followed rebuffs of Muttontown's complaints about inequitable funding by six other villages that rely on the Old Brookville Police Department. The other villages also rejected Mayor Julianne Beckerman's offer to maintain the status quo for a year while the issues were studied.

Chris Sweeney, president of the Old Brookville police union, said he was working with residents who oppose the change and plan a petition drive for a referendum on the issue. One opponent, Larry Smiley, said "we're exploring all avenues" including a lawsuit to block creation of the department.

Beckerman said the village is working with civil service officials to hire 12 officers. It plans to name former Nassau County Chief of Patrol William McHale, of nearby Laurel Hollow, as chief. The village hopes to have personnel in place by May when the agreement with the Old Brookville department expires.

Muttontown contributes more than a quarter of the Old Brookville police funding -- nearly $3 million a year, more than any partner. In response to Beckerman's offer to maintain the status quo for a year, Mill Neck Mayor Theodore B. Smith Jr. emailed her and the other village officials, telling them that, because of the village's large population, Muttontown's cost per household for police services is the third-lowest of the seven villages.

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After Tuesday's vote, Sweeney wrote to the village offering to reopen the police contract to cut labor costs if it would help continue Muttontown's 62-year history as a founding supporter of the Old Brookville department.

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