The police department accounts for 21 percent of the county budget ["Suffolk police deal," News, Aug. 13]. If this contract is approved, Suffolk County is doomed.

Look at Nassau County spending beyond its means for years, resulting in a takeover by a financial control board. This will force more of the middle class to flee Long Island and New York.

John Carr, West Babylon

The Suffolk County sheriff taking over patrols on the Long Island Expressway and Sunrise Highway never made sense ["Beef over dropping deputies," News, Aug. 13].

The Suffolk County Police Department was formed to reduce the duplication of services among the police departments in the five western towns and their villages. Centralization immediately improved communication and standardization.

Former County Executive Steve Levy's disdain for the police unions caused him to compromise this plan by introducing another agency. You don't have to be an expert in policing to know that this violates the intent of the county charter. All of this was done supposedly to save taxpayer dollars. Whether it ever truly accomplished this is questionable, as the public has never been provided with a cost analysis.

When you get down to it, should cost be everything, especially when it comes to effective policing? I think not.

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One might understand the motivation of a political appointee to allow a county executive to manipulate a situation where common sense should have prevailed, but for Sheriff Vincent DeMarco, who was elected by the people, to agree to such a plan smacks of self-promotion and empire building.

DeMarco must explain why he had such a bloated personnel roster that he was able to assume the highway duties without an extreme personnel shortage or driving up his overtime.

Robert Doyle, Nesconset

Editors Note: The writer retired from the Suffolk County Police Department as a detective sergeant.