Sagaponack Village Police Department Won’t Happen This Year

Sagaponack Police DENIED
Sagaponack Police DENIED, Graphic: Oliver Peterson

Earlier this week, Sagaponack Mayor Donald Lochheim inked an agreement with the Town of Southampton for increased police service, ending the current bid to form the Sagaponack Village Police Department.

According to a post on the Sagaponack Village website, Sagaponack will be a separate patrol area/territory under the Town Police Department. The village will receive 24-hour coverage from May 15 through September 26, and 16-hour coverage from September 16 through May 14. The officers assigned to Sagaponack will be consistent so as to develop and maintain a familiarity with the Village and its residents.

Louchheim shared a letter on the Sagaponack Village website Tuesday, thanking residents for their engagement in the process and encouraging them to continue coming to meetings and helping the village to improve wherever possible. It is reproduced below.

September 17, 2013
Re: Village of Sagaponack Police Coverage

Dear Sagaponack Residents and Taxpayers,

The Sagaponack Village Board voted on Monday, September 16, to shelve its plan to form a new Village police department and to remain in the Southampton Town Police District under a new Inter Municipal Agreement that will provide significantly expanded Town Police coverage year-round in the Village. A Town police officer will be assigned exclusively to the Village for 24 hours a day between May 15 and September 15 and between 8 a.m. and midnight for the remainder of the year, with coverage from midnight to 8 a.m. provided from a patrol sector serving a broader area in eastern Southampton Town.

If the Town fulfills its commitment, the new agreement will assure a community-oriented police presence dedicated to the Village that in most respects would match the level of coverage that a new Village Police force would have provided Village taxpayers will continue to pay the same share of police taxes to the town as they have in the past. This is more than a Village Police force was expected to cost, but the promised new coverage will substantially close the gap between the share of police service that Sagaponack gets compared to the share of total Town Police taxes that Sagaponack pays.

This was a difficult decision for the Village Board, particularly as there appeared to be growing support for a Village Police force. The decision was made only after successful negotiations with the Town over language in the new agreement to guarantee as much as possible that the level and type of coverage the Village sought will indeed be provided. If the Town fails to deliver, the Village Board has the right, every year, to terminate the agreement and provide police coverage on its own.

I would like to thank all of you who turned out for our two public meetings on this subject, who sent us your opinions, questions and comments or who expressed them personally whenever they encountered me or fellow board members over the past six weeks at the post office or on the street.

We hope that you will continue to attend our meetings and tell us your concerns, not just on police issues but on any subject where you would like us to be doing a better job.

Don Louchheim

The idea to buy Sag Harbor’s police department and simply paint over the “Harbor” part of all cars and uniforms was rejected out of hand…

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