DuWayne Gregory, presiding officer of the Suffolk County Legislature, plans to review how the county allots vehicles after finding that police cars equipped with lights and sirens have been assigned to police department spokesman Justin Meyers and former county Comptroller Joe Sawicki, an assistant police commissioner for finance.
Gregory (D-Copiague) said vehicles with lights and sirens should be restricted to police officers and possibly the police and public works commissioners.
Gregory said he requested lists of all civilians with police vehicles and badges after hearing complaints about Meyers’ vehicle and badge from other police officers.
“I don’t think it’s right,” Gregory said. “Why would a public information officer need a car with lights?”
Meyers, an assistant police commissioner and informal adviser to Police Commissioner Timothy Sini’s campaign for county district attorney, declined to comment. Sawicki did not respond to a request for comment.
Chief of Department Stuart Cameron said the county historically has issued unmarked police cars to all police commissioners, assistant commissioners and deputies. Lights and sirens can help commissioners get to scenes of crimes, he said.
Cameron said he believed the Suffolk Police Department’s policy is in line with the region’s other departments.
Most of the 40 civilian vehicles in the police department are assigned to areas including the IT Help Desk, pistol licensing and central records staff, according to the list provided to Gregory.
The five named employees with police vehicles are Meyers; Sini; Sawicki, whose job is part time; Deputy Police Commissioner Risco Mention-Lewis; and assistant county attorney Richard Weinschenk. Mention-Lewis and Weinschenk don’t have emergency lights on their cars, according to the list.
Gregory said he planned to put forward a plan on the county’s vehicle policy in July as part of broader cost-saving measures.