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Legislator threatens more subpoenas to gain info on Suffolk PD

Police Commissioner Richard Dormer's nearly 500-page response to a subpoena requesting information on staff moves in the police department is inadequate and may lead to subpoenas for individuals, Suffolk Legis. Jack Eddington (I-Medford) said Tuesday.

Eddington's primary beef is that Dormer's response - which included a 17-page note from County Executive Steve Levy - contained only e-mails and memos about how orders should be carried out, not any discussion of how decisions were made.

"Maybe I'll subpoena individuals and ask them, 'How did this come up and what did you say?' " said Eddington, chairman of the legislature's Public Safety Committee. "I can't see any other alternative."

The subpoena, issued in November, requested copies of written communication from Dormer and his top police brass about recent personnel moves, including the elimination of the department's highway patrol unit. Levy has said the staffing changes were made to cut police district costs for county taxpayers.

Dormer's reply said "no e-mail records maintained" by four retired police chiefs were found. In his cover letter, Levy wrote that the subpoena was "insulting" to Dormer and accused the legislature of acting on behalf of the Suffolk Police Benevolent Association.

Levy spokesman Mark Smith said Tuesday Eddington is doing the police union's bidding.

"There was never any doubt that Jack's intent is to subpoena the commissioner and his staff before his committee, which is run like an episode of the Springer show," he said.

Smith said there was no connection between Dormer's Friday delivery of the subpoena response to legislators and that night's shake-up of the department's homicide squad.

There is only one sheet of paper among the 21/2-inch stack of papers that summarizes a meeting in which a departmental change was discussed before it was made. That memo detailed an Oct. 15, 2008, meeting between top police and sheriff's department officials discussing how to shift 911 calls from the police call center to the sheriff's communication center.

"There's no open and honest communication," said Eddington, who in recent months has often quarreled with Levy over police issues. "It just doesn't make sense. If they would just give us honest explanations this could all be much easier."

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