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Jul 9, 2014 1:14 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Suffolk County Asks Westhampton Beach To Provide Police BackUp

Jul 9, 2014 1:14 PM

The Westhampton Beach Police Department and the Suffolk County Park Police are discussing a possible agreement in which village officers—and not constables at West Hampton Dunes Village—would provide backup to county officers at Cupsogue Beach.

While this agreement, which has stalled since the subject was broached early last month, would designate Westhampton Beach Village police as first responders when county officers call for backup, it would also effectively end an informal agreement between the county and the West Hampton Dunes Police Constables, who are based much closer to the beach that’s located on the westernmost end of Dune Road.

The news of this proposal caught West Hampton Dunes Mayor Gary Vegliante, whose police constabulary has been providing backup to the park police for the past several seasons at the village’s expense, off guard. Mr. Vegliante said was not aware of the discussions between the county and Westhampton Beach until he was recently contacted by a member of The Press.

“It’s odd to me that no one’s even talked to me about it,” he said.

The tentative accord between Westhampton Beach and Suffolk County would be similar to the agreements that village already has with the Southampton Town and Quogue Village police, in which its officers will provide backup to those agencies when necessary and at no cost.

Westhampton Beach Police Lieutenant Trevor Gonce, the acting commander of the department, said these types of agreements have become increasingly common in recent years as departments nationwide deal with tight budgets and shrinking staffs. Lt. Gonce said he’s waiting on a memorandum of agreement from the Village Board to make the agreement official, although he noted on Wednesday morning that he hasn’t heard anything from the trustees or county since last month.

“It’s definitely not uncommon and, basically, what they’re looking for is someone to secure the scene before they get there,” Lt. Gonce said.

The reason why the county wants Westhampton Beach providing back up rather than West Hampton Dunes, Lt. Gonce said, is because Westhampton Beach has a police department made up of licensed and unionized officers while the West Hampton Dunes Constabulary is made up of peace officers, whose policing powers do not extend beyond their jurisdiction. Cupsogue Beach is actually a part of Brookhaven Town despite its location.

Vanessa Baird-Streeter, a spokeswoman for Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, said county officials were not aware of the ongoing discussions between the two police agencies.

Former Westhampton Beach Mayor Conrad Teller said the Suffolk County Park Police had approached the village police directly about the request, and he was looking into establishing a memorandum of agreement before being voted out of office on June 20. Recently inaugurated Mayor Maria Moore said she was not familiar with the proposed agreement, but said she would be looking into it.

Lt. Gonce noted that his officers would not patrol the park, but merely provide support during emergencies. He added that even though there is no official agreement in place, his officers would still most likely respond to a mutual aid call from the county police.

“If they call we’re still gonna go down there, because we’re the closest police agency,” he said. “It’s not like we’re covering their area—it’s just providing assistance.”

However, Mr. Vegliante questions whether Westhampton Beach officers would be able to respond to an incident quickly enough without putting other people in jeopardy.

“They are more than eight miles away at best, what’s going to happen during these heavy-traffic periods?” Mr. Vegliante said. “Are we going to have a police officer doing 70 miles an hour down Dune Road on a Saturday to get to an incident?”

The mayor also noted that his officers frequently respond to incidents of missing children on the beach by creating a checkpoint at the park exit, checking every car and combing the beach on all-terrain vehicles. He questioned whether his neighboring village intends to provide the same services.

Mr. Vegliante also found it frustrating that the county would break a long-standing verbal agreement in which he was providing a free service.

“The interesting thing here is that, for many years, we worked very diligently with that park—like I said, we responded to many incidents there—and yet the county doesn’t tell me about this,” he said. “If the people of Westhampton Beach don’t mind paying the taxes to take on the responsibility, then by all means they can.”

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The new Mayor is not familiar with the proposed agreement but will be looking into it. When is she going to look into it, after she exhausts all options of trying to get her 25,000. This is why during her first week of office she should have been familiarizing herself with the goings on in the real Village Hall, not the annexed village hall. How many other proposals and things in the works that have been going on is she not familiar with. Or how many other proposals to benefit the village need to ...more
By Hollywood (86), Westhampton Beach on Jul 12, 14 11:28 AM
Hollywood you need anger management. Give the new Mayor a chance. I personally had dealings with Teller and he was impossible to get info from- even when requesting under the freedom of information act. You are obviously part of his "friends and family" administration. Like I've said before google Mayor Teller and "Chief Teller". Scandal and problems throughout his career.
By realistic (472), westhampton on Jul 13, 14 7:47 AM
You are right I am angry angry that so far our new mayor hasn't done anything but try and figure how to get paid and learn to say " I'm not familiar with that, I'll look into it. Yes it's only been a week but she should've been finding out what's on the table.
Scandals? What scandals the issues you call scandals are all fabrications of the annexed village hall brought up around election time, that have all cost (wasted) tax payers money since they all were found to have no wrongdoing by ...more
By Hollywood (86), Westhampton Beach on Jul 14, 14 12:21 PM
Mayor Vegliante could have avoided the problem by established a real police department in his village instead of going the rent-a-cop route.

Hollywood, give the new Mayor of Westhampton Beach time to settle in... I doubt she's gotten much past her salary issue.
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Jul 12, 14 11:40 AM
1 member liked this comment
How is WHBPD, who run single man coverage for the most part, able to hop over Southampton Town jurisdiction and through the village of WH Dunes to cover a Suffolk County Park in Brookhaven? Where are the Park Rangers?
By theprogram (37), east quogue on Jul 12, 14 1:07 PM
The answer to this and many other issues would be for Dune Road to incorporate as a Village - one Village from inlet to inlet. Trust me, this woild solve many problems that are unique to Dune Road.
By Summer Resident (251), Southampton N.Y. on Jul 13, 14 12:47 AM
An inlet to inlet village would create more problems. More lawsuits, more operational issues as the one stated in this article and more threats to public access to the resources that make this Town unique. It would prove to be costly and serve no purpose but to create more press headlines.
By 007 (45), East Quogue on Jul 13, 14 9:06 AM
1 member liked this comment
Frank Wheeler called WH Dunes rent a cops, when in actuality the majority of them are certified police officers with commendations and experience. Funny thing is, Suffolk County Parks Police officers that were only part time prior to being hired were considered Park Rangers, which are only peace officers. Even more interesting, is that some SC Parks Police Officers that were prior part timers, when hired to full time, never went back to the Police academy even though they were part timers for ...more
By theprogram (37), east quogue on Jul 13, 14 10:32 AM
> " the majority of them are certified police officers"

It doesn't matter what they are is the Incorporated Village which employs them maintains a constabulary rather than a recognized police department. That was a decision the municipality made.

If it sounded like I was denigrating the members of constabulary, I apologize -- it was actually directed at Mayor Vegliante.
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Jul 13, 14 7:07 PM
Ahhh ,Frankie, Frankie, Frankie,

To be so recognizable and simply so wrong. It may not matter to you what our fine department is or isn't, but that is only because the facts so ruin your pitiful attempt to make yourself seem relevant.

It didn't "sound like you were denigrating our department" you did attempt to denigrate our department, of course you were completely wrong but still it was an inept attempt at a very cheap shot.

What is relevant is we have no problem, no ...more
By veggary (45), West HamptonDunes on Jul 14, 14 3:42 PM
Maybe you should tell your "sgt" to stop running his mouth and going to the papers, then you wouldn't have this issue
By Clarity (65), Whb on Jul 14, 14 9:46 PM
> "We here in the Dunes have a highly trained,
> fully recognized law enforcement agency......

And there's the problem. You can call it whatever you and the rest of your happy clams want, the county and the state don't see it the same way, and they are the ruling authority.

Or are you going to try to sue them into submission as well?
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Jul 15, 14 8:33 AM
Frankie, wrong once again, did you even read the county's response??
I know how much you need to continue to create the fairytale but both the County or the Village of WHB governments have not put their necks in a trap which has been completely constructed by a few agency wonks neither of whom have the authority (or the legal intellect) to enter.
BTW not only does NY State fully recognize our agency they actually testified in our behalf when we won the right exist, and exist we do as the ...more
By veggary (45), West HamptonDunes on Jul 15, 14 12:22 PM
Just not what happened.
Sorry but you guys better realize fairytales don't come true even if you really,really, really want.

Gary V
By veggary (45), West HamptonDunes on Jul 15, 14 12:25 PM
Of course your crime rate is the lowest in Suffolk County - you are a small seasonal community. It is not because your Peace Officers are protecting the White House - it's simply because once Cupsogue closes so does the traffic beyond John Scott's.... get with it. And for the Mayor your comments are unprofessional and simply arrogant.
By beachbme11978 (78), Westhampton Beach on Jul 15, 14 1:50 PM
1 member liked this comment
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By veggary (45), West HamptonDunes on Jul 15, 14 3:42 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By veggary (45), West HamptonDunes on Jul 15, 14 3:44 PM
Creating an inlet to inlet village is absolutely the stupidest idea I have ever heard.
By westhamptonboy (227), Westhampton on Jul 13, 14 1:25 PM
So stupid that you could not list the reasons.
By Summer Resident (251), Southampton N.Y. on Jul 13, 14 3:36 PM
The WHBPD are not taking any jobs or any work from the constables- it's not a hard concept to follow- they are being asked to provide aide in ways constables cannot. The constables have jurisdiction over their Village and no where beyond it, the County asking for aide from the Village is simply for the health safety and welfare of beach goers in their parks.
By beachbme11978 (78), Westhampton Beach on Jul 13, 14 1:47 PM
1 member liked this comment
You are correct it's not a hard concept to follow, just that your rendition of the constables juristiction is wrong.
Also, how is the health, saftey and wealfare of beach goers, getting support from miles and multiple municipalities away "better" than the extrodinary record all ready set from the past 8 - 10 years?
Logic is really nice , why don't you give it a try.

Gary V
By veggary (45), West HamptonDunes on Jul 14, 14 3:55 PM
If my rendition of the constables jurisdiction is wrong, please enlighten me as to exactly where a Constable has jurisdiction over? You must be unaware that the Village of Westhampton Beach Police actually patrol UP TO the border of the Westhampton Dunes as they have an agreement with the Town of Southampton. So, at times yes they may be a few miles away, however they could also be just a short distance away. What is the loss here for the Dunes, I dont believe having a mutual agreement with the ...more
By beachbme11978 (78), Westhampton Beach on Jul 15, 14 10:15 AM
The reason why Suffolk County beaches are short patrols is because Steve Bellone had legislation passéd, but not yet signed by Cuomo, transferring the Suffolk County Parks Police officers into the Suffolk County Police Dept. as a cost saving measure. Ample part time Suffolk County Park Rangers have not yet been hired to fill voids in Suffolk County parks coverage.
By theprogram (37), east quogue on Jul 13, 14 2:48 PM
"Cupsogue Beach is actually a part of Brookhaven Town despite its location."

This is the first time I've seen this in print and am ecstatic about it. About time someone looks at a map and understands that Cupsogue is not, in fact, "in the hamptons"
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jul 13, 14 4:07 PM
inlet to inlet would include parts of brookhaven, westhampton dunes, westhampton, westhampton beach, quogue, east quogue, and hampton bays. Creating a new village and having all those towns giving up their beaches would be impossible. How do you solve school district, police, fire, etc etc.
By westhamptonboy (227), Westhampton on Jul 13, 14 8:55 PM
2 members liked this comment
Additionally, a similar village was proposed to the east "Dune Hampton" which was a terrible failure.
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jul 13, 14 9:32 PM
Sounds like sour grapes on behalf of the CONSTABULARY. They are entering into a Suffolk County Park within the Suffolk County Police District. I don't blame the county for not wanting what basically amounts to a security guard going in and attempting to handle police matters. It severely opens the county up to liability.
We now know that the member who is getting defensive is clearly a constable within this organization. Question remains is he the Constable who could not pass a police department ...more
Jul 14, 14 9:12 AM appended by InTheKnow
By InTheKnow (1), Moriches on Jul 14, 14 9:12 AM
2 members liked this comment
Wow, "sour grapes", "security guard" and a crystal ball. Maybe your name should be In The Know It All.
I don't know who the "we" is but they all should go back to both law and fortune teller school.

Gary V
By veggary (45), West HamptonDunes on Jul 14, 14 4:03 PM
Mr mayor, do you deny that your "officers" are PEACE OFFICERS, who under the NYS CRIMINAL PROCEDURE LAW, are only allowed to act when on duty and in their GAOE, or geographical area of employment? By allowing these officers to act as law enforcement officers in any capacity outside of your village is irresponsible and unlawful. Once outside the boundaries of WH Dunes, they are civilians. no matter how highly trained, or their certifications that were earned while employed at other departments, ...more
By Clarity (65), Whb on Jul 14, 14 9:40 PM
2 members liked this comment
Thank you for your sincere concern and esteemed legal advise for our department.Your concern for the taxpayers of my community is truly heartwarming.
Some of what you say is partially accurate. However you must know that our department can enter into a IMU just as WHB or any other municipality could. Also in any emergency or time of dire need our department enjoys the very same coverage as any other (don't the S/H Bay Constables enter the ocean at times of need).
I do recognize ...more
By veggary (45), West HamptonDunes on Jul 15, 14 3:41 PM
Mayor V, your argument holds no merit. The Southampton town bay constables do respond into the ocean as it is clearly within the confines of Southampton town, which is their geographical area of employment. You bring up the fact that your municipality can enter into an inter municipal agreement or and IMU as you call it, to which I do not agree. No municipality would enter into an agreement with persons who are not POLICE OFFICERS, and have them patrol their municipality which is normally patrolled ...more
By Clarity (65), Whb on Jul 15, 14 5:24 PM
I don't know where you get your information or if you just like to make it up, but you are wrong simply and completely wrong. First allow me to enlighten you, and anyone else who may have intrest, to our
N.Y. CPL. LAW § 140.25 : NY Code - Section 140.25: Arrest without a warrant; by peace officer
Search N.Y. CPL. LAW § 140.25 : NY Code - Section 140.25: Arrest without a warrant; by peace officer
If you have any interest in the truth please take special note of ...more
By veggary (45), West HamptonDunes on Jul 17, 14 12:21 PM
Mr Mayor, as you quoted, NYS CPL section 140.25, section 4. "A peace officer, when outside of the geographical area of employment, may anywhere in the state, arrest a person for a FELONY when he had reasonable cause to believe that such person has committed such felony IN HIS PRESENCE, provided that such arrest is made during or immediately after the criminal conduct or during the flight therefrom. What this means is that your "officers" would have to be OUTSIDE OF THEIR GEOGRAPHICAL AREA OF EMPLOYMENT ...more
By Clarity (65), Whb on Jul 22, 14 5:37 PM
BTW Veggie man all the towns in NYS have jurisdiction up to 1500 ft into state waters including the ocean Also take a look at a hagstrom and u will see where the towns boundaries are
By CaptainSig (716), Dutch Harbor on Jul 17, 14 3:02 PM
Right you are Cappy boy, as do Villages. However once they pass Swan Island and into Moriches inlet they are long past S/H (and I don't even need a map).
But remember I know (as the law I have provided says) even there or anywhere in NYS they as well as our Constables can act to protect the public.
Hagstrom or no.
By veggary (45), West HamptonDunes on Jul 17, 14 11:14 PM
Once who passes swan isl? What? Was talking about boundaries and jurisdiction in ocean, U said all ocean out of SH jurisdiction, its not Thats all
By CaptainSig (716), Dutch Harbor on Jul 18, 14 3:59 PM
Please remember I say (as does the law) they can have jurisdiction in the ocean within State boundaries as they have when they enter the ocean through Moriches. I have no idea what your argument is.

By veggary (45), West HamptonDunes on Jul 18, 14 7:20 PM
Although I don't agree with the mayors argument of jurisdiction and the ability of his peace officers to enter into an agreement that is lawful
I agree with him on the issue of safety to the residents and visitors on dune rd when an emergency takes place and a patrol car is speeding down dune rd .
BUT doesn't an ambulance responding has to do the same thing ? Or is there an ambulance and fire department in WHD that I don't know about ?
Maybe the mayor should consider creating a police ...more
By Urit (24), Quogue on Jul 17, 14 8:03 PM
Mine is not really an argument it's simply the law.

First of all most calls ( even serious ones) can be dealt with without the need for and ambulance and they usually travel at a much slower rate of speed. I am not questioning the ability of the police it's simply the vast number of calls dramatically increase the number of trips, greatly increasing the odds of a tragedy

Thanks .
By veggary (45), West HamptonDunes on Jul 17, 14 11:23 PM
This can't still be going on, and the Mayor can't possibly state that Most calls even the most serious can be handled without an ambulance?! That is the most unbelievable statement you have made to date- and quite ignorant too. We all know the importance and necessity for ambulances, and yes when they are responding to a serious call they do travel at a higher rate of speed, they also use those really bright lights & those extra loud horns- SIRENS- to alert people, it's hard to believe, I know. ...more
By beachbme11978 (78), Westhampton Beach on Jul 18, 14 8:38 PM
Now I recognize the problem when you read something you don't agree with you just change the words to fit what you need.
Actually you are right the MAYOR DIDN'T SAY "even the MOST serious" you added a word ( most) you sneaky little devil.
Good impact just a lie.
Please, I live on that beach and I can tell you (it is also a simple matter of record) that by far, very far MOST CALLS DO NOT NEED AN AMBULANCE.
Try to stick with the facts as the are easily supported, even ...more
By veggary (45), West HamptonDunes on Jul 23, 14 8:38 AM