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Sagaponack mulls hiring summer constable

Sagaponack Village Hall (Dec. 30, 2010)

Sagaponack Village Hall (Dec. 30, 2010) Credit: Erin Geismar

Citing a growing summer population that brings in more traffic and construction, the Sagaponack Village Board has proposed hiring a part-time, seasonal constable.

Village Mayor Don Louchheim said the constable would supplement the Southampton Town Police Department in Sagaponack. When the village incorporated in 2005, it had an option to develop its own police force, but decided to “keep it bare bones” and continue to rely on the town, Louchheim said.

But Louchheim said during the busy summer months, traffic in Sagaponack -- especially at the beaches -- along with building and zoning code violations and enforcement of other “nuisance laws” are too much for the one officer the town assigns to the area.

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“In the short history of the village,” Louchheim said, “what we’ve tried to do is come up with efficient solutions to our unique problems. The constabulary is being approached from that perspective.”

The first step -- and the only one the board is proposing now -- would be to apply to the Suffolk County Civil Service Department for a village constable classification in Sagaponack. The classification would name the job details of the constable position.

At a public hearing last week on a resolution to apply for the classification, Loucheim said residents were concerned that the constabulary would continue to grow, becoming a “multi-million dollar bureaucracy.”

Louchheim said that was far from what the board was proposing. The village board agreed to table the resolution, and Louchheim said it was considering adding a $150,000 yearly spending cap to the resolution to ease residents’ concerns.

If the village were to receive the classification from the county, it would be free to hire a constable whenever it sees fit, Loucheim said, which does not necessarily mean it would hire one immediately, or even for summer 2011.

“It would have to be budgeted for,” he said.

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