Meeting on Sagaponack's bid to police themselves
Southampton will offer to boost its police patrols in the wealthy enclave of Sagaponack in a bid to keep the village from forming its own law enforcement agency, town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst said Thursday.
The village of 314 residents would have its own dedicated officer patrolling within its borders for 16 hours a day, year-round. Currently, it has an officer assigned to it only between May and September. The village is part of a larger patrol area on the eastern end of town the rest of the year.
Village officials have complained that, despite contributing $2.3 million a year in taxes to the town's police department, its policing needs -- mostly involving traffic control and quality-of-life issues -- have not been met by the Southampton's Police Department.
The village's tax contribution makes up 10 percent of the town's police budget.
Mayor Don Louchheim was unavailable for comment Thursday about the proposed deal, which still needs approval from the Southampton Town Board. But he said at a community meeting last month, "We pay a hugely disproportionate share of Southampton Town Police taxes compared to the coverage we get."
Since at least 2010, Sagaponack has been trying to get an increased police presence in the village of mostly summer residents, which includes billionaire Ira Rennert's 100,000-square-foot residential compound.
Louchheim and other residents have said that besides additional patrols, they want more of a community-focused police presence than the town has offered.
A village analysis found it could save at least $500,000 by stopping its payment to the town for police protection and forming its own police department using part-time officers. That would include a $1 million agreement with another law enforcement agency, either Southampton or East Hampton, for services such as dispatch, jail and investigations into serious crimes.
The town will hold its second and final community meeting Saturday about the issue.
The village and town boards held a joint closed-door meeting last week to discuss the issue.
Throne-Holst said she expected the deal will satisfy Sagaponack's concerns. "It should provide them with the coverage they're looking for," she said.
But police resources elsewhere in the town would have to be shuffled. "We are going to have to rearrange some resources, which will be a challenge," she said.