hamptons local events, express news group

Story - News

Aug 20, 2013 10:03 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Sagaponack Schedules Vote On Forming Police Department

Aug 20, 2013 3:53 PM

Sagaponack Village will continue to examine the idea of forming its own police department: The Village Board on Monday afternoon unanimously agreed to hold a special meeting on September 7, at which a final decision will be made.

The board approved the hiring of former Southampton Village and Southampton Town Police Chief William Wilson Jr. to do an analysis of exactly what the start-up costs and potential contractual obligations would be for the village if it created its own police department, rather than relying on coverage by Southampton Town Police. Mr. Wilson will present the analysis at the September 7 meeting.

The village is considering whether to form a full-fledged police force, staffed full time, or a part-time force that only provides its own coverage on a seasonal basis, or for one of three shifts per day, and contracts with a neighboring force—Southampton Town or East Hampton Town are the most likely candidates—to cover the rest of the time. Creating a village department would allow village officials more ability to negotiate the terms and costs of coverage, something it cannot do with Southampton Town now.

Board members said there will not be a dedicated public hearing on the proposal, since one is not required for a simple board resolution, but that public comment would be allowed at the special meeting. The board will vote on the measure at the same meeting.

Mayor Donald Louchheim said at a specially scheduled Saturday morning meeting earlier this month that he did not want to see the village form its own police force unless there was clear, broad-based support from village residents for doing it. He did not say at Monday’s meeting whether the board has decided such broad support was present or not.

The mayor also said that had researched the possibility of holding a referendum of village residents on the topic of the creation of the police force, and he found that state laws specifically prohibit holding a vote to approve such a measure.

Mr. Louchheim said that he met with Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst last week to discuss possible changes to the way Town Police provide coverage to the village, which could head off the creation of a village department, but that no offer from the town has materialized. He said that up until the September 7 meeting date, the village would listen to any offers the town might make.

“I met with the supervisor last week and told her we are still waiting and, uh, we are still waiting,” Mr. Louchheim said. “I told her what our schedules were, and that up until our final deadline ... we are willing to consider any proposal we are given.”

If the village were to form its own force and contract with East Hampton Town for its supplemental coverage, Southampton Town would lose some $2.3 million in annual tax revenues paid by Sagaponack residents—an amount roughly equal to more than 10 percent of the town’s total police budget. The cuts, town officials have said, could mean several police officers would have to be laid off from the already shorthanded department.

You've read 1 of 7 free articles this month.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

What the heck Is wrong with this village? Hiring a disgraced police chief who wants Sagaponack to create their own department and make him chief, is the person they hire to give the board start-up costs? Unbelievable. There seems to be a back room deal in the making here. Wake up residents of Sagaponack!!!
By fuou812 (59), Oakdale on Aug 20, 13 11:28 AM
1 member liked this comment
"The cuts, town officials have said, could mean several police officers would have to be laid off from the already short-handed department."

If the Department is already admittedly short handed..where are you going to make cuts from?? This is a hollow threat and a weakly veiled attempt to pull at the heart strings of Sagappnack officials. Southampton Town's fiscal mismanagement of its PD is not Sagaponack's problem. Why shouldn't Sagaponack provide police services to its residents?
By sunnydays (43), Hampton Bays on Aug 20, 13 12:49 PM
Moreover, the language quoted above is not logical.

If the SH Town PD is "already short-handed" --

1. How can it patrol Sagaponack adequately? and

2. Wouldn't the reduced manpower obligations actually HELP the SH Town PD, if Sagaponack Village creates its own force?

As sunnydays points out, any future budget problems at the SH Town PD should not be used to influence the Village's decision here.

In a touch of irony, perhaps, the PBA has helped make ...more
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Aug 20, 13 3:11 PM
1 member liked this comment
As discussed in earlier comments, the cost motivations here may include the possibility of having a non-union police force, to some extent, if the voters approve moving to the next step.

Also, all future hiring would have to comply with EEO laws and regulations. [Equal Employment Opportunity]

It is doubtful that the Village would want to saddle itself with immediate lawsuits if it hires a chief or other PD personnel, without advertising new openings consistent with its EEO legal ...more
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Aug 20, 13 2:59 PM
1 member liked this comment
If Sagaponack Village decided to do this, they would be smart to also create their own justice court. While NY State would always get their cut on any moving violations written by a Sagaponack Village cop, I believe they could cut out Southampton Town from any of this revenue. They would be smart to hire summer TCO's also. A lot of revenue in parking tickets at beaches etc. in the hundreds of thousands.
By BruceB (142), Sag Harbor on Aug 20, 13 4:17 PM
1 member liked this comment
Look, if Sagaponack wants to have a village police force, so be it. However, to use the cost figures from someone who wants to be the chief is just plain foolish. There are plenty of fiscal police experts without baggage or self interests to get "real" cost figures from. How can the people of Sagaponack rely on Wilson's figures since keeping them low would better his chances of becoming the chief. And by the way, William Wilson has never balanced a budget in either the town or the village police ...more
By fuou812 (59), Oakdale on Aug 20, 13 5:28 PM
3 members liked this comment
The chief of police is the one who does the budget each year for their police department. It would only make sense that Sagaponack would ask a police chief to to their budget. Forced, unrealistic numbers after slashing by the town board purposefully to make wilson look bad was the case while he was with the town but even then his budgets were not over. Look at the facts. The town telling sagaponack they are getting their 2.3 millon dollars worth is as much of a joke as your comment.
By Disgustedwithyou (36), Hampton Bays on Aug 20, 13 6:03 PM
Your post is half right. Yes, using a former chief to give you budget figures does make sense but there are dozens of former chiefs on Long Island who have no personal interest in Sagaponack creating their own police department. Nor do they have any interest in becoming Sagaponack's chief. Nor do they come with the baggage and controversy that Wilson brings. Paying Wilson to give accurate figures is just plain dumb and reeks of back room politics. Beware people of Sagaponack it sounds like the fix ...more
By fuou812 (59), Oakdale on Aug 21, 13 9:36 AM
William Wilson is looking for fame and glory. He couldn't get it at Southampton Village and certainly couldn't get it from Southampton Town. Let's see if Sagoponack is gullible enough to fall into his egomaniacal plan.
By Jaws (245), Amity Island on Aug 20, 13 10:49 PM
1 member liked this comment
Put the cops in flanders
By Friendofthehmptons (1), Peconic on Aug 21, 13 8:48 PM