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Letter: Legislature awaits federal findings

A file photo of the Suffolk County legislature

A file photo of the Suffolk County legislature holding a meeting at the Evans K. Griffing building in Riverhead. (Aug. 16, 2011) Credit: James Carbone

In a recent column, Joye Brown criticized the Suffolk County Legislature for tabling a proposal to establish a special legislative committee to investigate Suffolk County’s law enforcement agencies [“Pols keeping public in the dark,” News column, Feb. 11]. Brown’s arguments are off the mark, and I particularly object to her suggestion that county legislators are trying to keep the scandals out of sight and out of the public mind.

An investigation by the legislature would serve no purpose at this time. As Newsday has reported, the U.S. Justice Department is investigating Suffolk County’s law enforcement agencies, and federal grand juries already have indicted former Suffolk Police Chief James Burke and county Conservative Party leader Edward Walsh, a recently retired sheriff’s lieutenant.

The Justice Department is an independent outside player with no political axe to grind. It has investigative resources and expertise that far surpass those available to the county legislature.

What possible sense does it make for the legislature to spend $100,000 for a separate investigation that is unlikely to uncover additional information but could have the unintended effect of interfering with and obstructing the federal investigation?

When the federal investigation’s findings are made public, the county legislature will have a clear road map for necessary reforms, and you can rest assured that I will fight for needed changes.

Kate Browning, Mastic

Editor’s note: The writer represents Suffolk County’s 3rd Legislative District.

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