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Webber: Highway patrol won't hurt precincts

Newly-appointed Suffolk County Police Commissioner Edward Webber during

Newly-appointed Suffolk County Police Commissioner Edward Webber during an interview in his office at police headquarters in Yaphank. (July 25, 2012) Photo Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas

Suffolk County's Police Department will not pull officers away from precinct duty under the department's plan to take over highway patrol from the county Sheriffs Department, newly appointed Police Commissioner Edward Webber told legislators Thursday.

The remarks came at Webber's confirmation hearing before the legislature's Public Safety Committee meeting in Hauppauge.

Webber, who has held the post in an interim capacity since being tapped by County Executive Steve Bellone, received a unanimous vote approving his selection.

He now faces a final vote of approval from the legislature at its Tuesday meeting in Riverhead.

At the hearing, Legis. Lou D'Amaro asked Webber whether or not recently announced plans to have the department assume control of highway patrol would impact regular staffing levels at the county's police precincts.

Webber said he did not anticipate having to move officers from precinct duty to highway patrol; rather the department would rely on units already assigned to traffic duties such as the aggressive-driving and motorcycle units.

"We will not take any police officers from precinct patrol," Webber said. "We will use the existing highway patrol and merge other units."

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