Expanding artificial reefs offshore has been beneficial for New York’s marine fishery ["State expands reef off Point Lookout," News, Sept. 17]. Lack of protection for that fishery, to me, significantly negates those benefits. Our Long Island marine fishery is protected by laws primarily enforced by 25 environmental conservation police officers of the state Department of Environmental Conservation. Four of those are dedicated marine officers. While the inshore patrol boat fleet is in relatively good condition, their offshore capabilities have been hampered because of an aging 1986 offshore patrol vessel and the governor’s budget office’s refusal to proceed with a $500,000 nonmatching port security grant for a modern offshore patrol vessel. Additionally, DEC’s small contingent of officers has been directed to patrol only for federally funded enforcement and "governor-directed details." In effect, its boat patrols have been decreased to less than one per week in each of the region’s four zones from the city line to Montauk. Furthermore, they have been directed to provide hundreds of man-hours for security at COVID-19 testing sites. While DEC’s 25 officers are manning these sites and not patrolling our waterways, we can only wonder how many fish are being illegally caught.
Editor’s note: The writer was a member of the DEC’s Division of Law Enforcement for nearly 40 years.
Steps to help Suffolk save funds
The article "Bellone warning of steep cop cuts" [News, Sept. 19] raises much concern. While Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone has governed one of the state’s most fiscally stressed counties before COVID-19, sensible steps must be taken to reign in spending while protecting needed services. If Bellone’s proposed closing of the Suffolk County Police Academy occurs, he should make use of the Nassau County Police Academy for training. This would be a win-win for the budgets of both counties. Numerous New York City and federal agencies have used the Rodman’s Neck firing range and bomb disposal pit in the Bronx for decades. It makes sense to share resources between police agencies to save spending while also protecting jobs. The Long Island Expressway and Sunrise Highway are just two of Long Island’s state-designated roads patrolled by county police. Bellone should ask the state to reimburse the county for using county police to patrol these roads. While there are not enough state police to patrol all state roads, the county should be reimbursed for these expenses. Long Island can no longer be a state cash cow.
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone seems to be rushing Halloween this year. He appears to have chosen to hide behind a mask of needing additional federal funding as he threatens to cut $20 million from the police department budget for next year. Instead of being truly creative in dealing with county budget deficits, to me he’s applying the concept "never let a crisis go to waste" as his opportunity to defund the police. Particularly alarming is Bellone’s stated target of cutting school resource officers and eliminating 200 new police officers while blaming the federal government.
John F. DeMarle,
Academics a better route than sports
We have seen so many high school students complain about the postponement of fall sports and how it will affect their scholarship chances. Gee, I always thought colleges were academic institutions, not sports clubs. While sports are great (I coached Little League, and both of my kids played travel and school sports), tying your college acceptance to sports seems a bit misguided to me. We all need discretion and sane priorities. The dangers from the pandemic far exceed the recklessness of starting sports prematurely. Oh, one novel way to ensure getting into college is to work hard enough to get the grades that your desired colleges require for admittance.
Assigning ‘sin’ to anyone is racist
While traveling in China last fall, our tour guide told us about his parents who were sent to reeducation camps to be indoctrinated into Maoist principles during the Cultural Revolution ["Diversity training shouldn’t be toxic," Opinion, Sept. 16]. I was reminded of that by Cathy Young’s column on "critical race theory," which calls for employers to require employees to attend workshops that bully and harangue them into confessing their sins of Black oppression and white privilege. It is frightening to think that such tactics are being used here in the United States under the guise of improving race relations. I believe that to assign "sin" to any race is the definition of racism and must be confronted for what it is whenever it is observed, regardless of the race being targeted.