New Technology Helps Police Keep Poor Out of the Hamptons

Man looking embarrassed in his car as BBITF cop checks his wealth and learns he's too poor to enter the Hamptons
BBITF wealth checks are far easier now, Photo: Katarzyna Białasiewicz/123RF

The Bank Balance Investigative Task Force (BBITF), which undertakes wealth verification services for the entire South Fork, announced this week that new systems are in place for the approaching summer season to ensure visitors to the Hamptons arrive with the required resources.

“We’ve come a long way, baby,” says Frederick Millner, head of the BBITF. “We’ve had the legal authority to forcibly remove underfunded visitors for years, but it was always a law enforcement challenge to determine who the cheapskates were.”

In past years, the BBITF has worked cooperatively with the Hamptons Police to spot-check vehicles entering the Hamptons to verify area visitors had a minimum of ready cash to spend while here. But until recently these operations relied entirely upon motorists providing honest answers about their assets, as police lacked the technology to infiltrate bank computer systems to double-check bank balances and other forms of wealth.

“It was kind of a joke, really,” Millner says. “How likely is it that somebody’s going to give you an honest answer about how much money they have in the bank?”

The old system also tied up traffic during the busiest times of year.

“The old spot-check method was a mess, to be honest,” Millner admits. “Now it’s going to be absolutely seamless.”

According to Millner, the new system scans license plates as motorists cross the Shinnecock Canal going east on Sunrise Highway or Montauk Highway. Then, using sophisticated cross-referencing software, the BBITF’s high-speed supercomputers quickly determine the identity of the drivers and access their bank account information to determine what kind of spending power they have.

“It’s breathtaking how quickly we can know what a guy’s bankroll looks like,” Millner continues, explaining that this information is then crosschecked with an analysis of the driver’s debts. “In about 30 seconds, our system gets a pretty complete picture of every driver’s financial situation. At that point, it makes a determination as to whether a given driver should be allowed to proceed.”

Full implementation of the new system will commence on May 15, at which point officers of a new BBITF Enforcement Patrol will begin to intercept drivers flagged for having insufficient funds.

Millner explains that BBITF officers have been carefully trained not to antagonize the underfunded drivers, who could be feeling humiliated or that they are being discriminated against.

“Look, we’ll tell them the law is the law. They will be informed, politely but firmly, that they will need to turn their vehicles around and go back to where they came from. They will also be told that, should their financial situation improve, they’ll naturally be welcome to return.”

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