Hamptons Police Dept. Doorbell Guards Unnerve Homeowners

Police-enabled BingBongBash doorbell
Police-enabled BingBongBash doorbell, Photo: 123RF

The Hamptons Police Department will soon be keeping a sharp eye on homes across the South Fork thanks to a new partnership with BingBongBash video doorbells. Department reps say officers will be able to stand guard at local houses without actually having to be there, but some residents aren’t feeling entirely comfortable with the idea.

A beta of the new system/partnership was uploaded to the homes of 200 Hamptonites over the winter, and many of the test cases said they felt uneasy when officers on duty would do things like welcome them home through the BingBongBash speakers.

“Each on-duty officer has his or her own style,” one beta tester, Amagansett’s Hilda Benifacio said. “I remember a particularly cold February evening when I was trying to get in my door with a bunch of groceries. I’m balancing the bags and digging in my purse for my house key and, all of a sudden, I hear a ‘Hey-yoooo!’ screamed loudly from my doorbell,” Benifacio continued. “It scared the daylights out of me. I dropped all my bags and ran in the opposite direction,” she said. “I didn’t realize what had happened until I was already speeding west on Montauk Highway, trying to call the cops from my mobile phone. It goes without saying—I was not happy with this particular interaction.”

Other beta testers said they didn’t like the feeling of being watched, and they were even more put off by officers’ attempts at conversation. “I once got stuck talking to my on-duty officer, Steve, about his marital problems for 57 minutes,” a Southampton homeowner, who asked to remain anonymous, told reporters. “That’s not really what I signed up for.”

Current BingBongBash customers, who will receive the Hamptons PD update next week, point out that having an officer watching them live will hamper their creativity and ability to behave naturally while recording synchronized dance routines, neighborhood birthday parades and other TikTok videos that could earn them praise and followers on social media. “No one wants to join the dance party I’ve planned on my block, not even my kids,” one mother admitted. “I already had the costumes and music picked out, but this doorbell has ruined it.”

Despite these and other complaints, HPD spokesman Rex Gallant says his Department and BingBongBash are moving ahead with the update as-is, but there may be room for changes in future updates. “We’re also interviewing potential on-duty officers to make sure each accepted candidate has the requisite class, charisma and silky-smooth voice for the job,” Gallant added. “I think our residents will change their tune when they’ve got the Barry White of the Boys in Blue speaking through their doorbell. Wouldn’t you?”

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