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Eastern LI lawmakers want dispatch to stay

The New York State Police station in Riverside

The New York State Police station in Riverside on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015. Credit: Ed Betz

State lawmakers from eastern Long Island have reached out to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to protest the removal of a desk officer from a state trooper barracks in Riverside.

State Sen. Kenneth LaValle (R-Port Jefferson) and Assemb. Fred Thiele Jr. (I-Sag Harbor) said they oppose a plan to move dispatch operations from the Riverside station to Farmingdale, and said so in a letter to Cuomo last week.

Maj. Joseph Tripodo, who leads the State Police on Long Island, told Newsday last week that the change could happen by the end of October and would free more troopers to patrol the East End.

But the relocation would mean a trooper would not be stationed 24/7 at the front desk of the barracks for the first time since 2004, and has drawn criticism from civic leaders and PBA members.

LaValle and Thiele wrote they were "disappointed to learn that the front desk will be unmanned, the doors will be locked, dispatch will be handled off site, and at certain times there will be no troopers in the building to unlock the doors in an emergency situation."

The lawmakers attributed the change to a shortage of state troopers on Long Island. They called for additional troopers and said they would press for funding in the 2016-17 budget to train recruits.

About 150 of the state's 3,800 uniformed troopers work on Long Island, according to PBA officials.

Riverside is the target of economic revitalization efforts by Southampton Town officials. Change at the Riverside station "is a step backward in stemming crime in the area," LaValle and Thiele wrote.


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