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Riverhead Town might beef up code enforcement

Riverhead Town officials are considering training police officers and adding more staff for code enforcement to help address the volume of code complaints.

According to Deputy Town Attorney Dawn Thomas, who works with the town’s Code Enforcement Division, the division normally deals with up to 15 complaints a week and 300 open complaints with only one full-time and two part-time code enforcement officers on staff. For those reasons, she told the town board at its May 4 work session that the division could use more staff to help address those complaints faster.

Town Supervisor Sean Walter said he would look into the possibility of adding another code enforcement officer to the town’s budget, but he and other board members asked code enforcement to consider training some of the town’s part-time police officers to handle code enforcement issues as a way to address code complaints.

“We have 10 part-time police officers,” Walter said at the meeting. “They can do the job if you train them in code enforcement,” he said at the meeting.

Councilwoman Jodi Giglio disagreed, expressing her hesitation at redirecting police from their regular duties to handle code enforcement issues.

However, other board members were in favor of training part-time officers to do it. “I think it’s a good way to get bodies,” said Councilman Tim Hubbard.

Thomas said they would explore the idea and give a report to the board about their option.

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