July 21, 2017 -- Police Inspector Daniel Flanagan, Commanding Officer of the Nassau County Police Department's 3rd Precinct discussed local and county-wide policing issues with local residents at the Sea Cliff Village Board's July 17 meeting, reporting that while crime is down across the County and in Sea Cliff, the community still faces challenges - most serious among them the opioid epidemic plaguing not only this area but Long Island as a whole and many areas of the country.
This past year, the crime rate across the county declined 7%, he said, while in Sea Cliff it is down 55% with only one robbery, one larceny from auto, and one burglary since January.
Theft from unlocked automobiles is a problem county-wide, he explained, and advised that protecting oneself is relatively simple. Don't leave valuables in your car and make sure you lock your doors.
A major cause of those sort of thefts, the Inspector continued, is the opioid epidemic with abusers seeking ways to fund their addiction.
In addressing that epidemic, Mr. Flanagan explained that the County's Narcan program, through which all patrol cars are equipped with the treatment that reverses the effects of an opiod overdose, has enabled police officers to save several hundred lives over the last several years.
During the questioning period, Resident Carol Vogt asked what sort of programs are in place to apprehend those selling heroin and other opioids.
Inspector Flannigan explained that the County has both its own task force and has formed a joint task force with the City and Suffolk County to track down sellers of heroin and other opiates. When there is an overdose, he said, the Detective Squad is notified immediately and the investigation to find the source of the drugs begins right at the scene through evidence gathering and conducting interviews with witnesses and if possible the overdose victim.
Joining the Inspector Monday night was Problem Oriented Policing (POP) unit officer Steve Krukowski. The unit, Mr. Krukowski explained, is made up of plain clothes officers who work in a particular community to get a good sense of the chronic problems and issues it faces so that they can be better addressed.
"We work with towns and villages to solve ongoing problems," he said. "If there are any issues, let us know, - we like to get on top of it before it gets out of control."
In addressing the opioid problem, Mr. Krukowski said that he is working closely with the newly formed North Shore Coalition Against Substance Abuse.
Additionally, Mr. Krukowski explained that the unit maintains contact with the schools to address a variety of issues. For example, after a bias incident in the Middle School in which graffitti was scrawled on a bathroom wall this past spring, he was involved in offering sensitivity and ant-bias workshops to students.
As for other issues POP has focused on, he said that this year the unit has been effective in addressing issues down at Tappen Beach at night such as underage drinking and car racing.
During the public question period, Village Administrator Bruce Kennedy asked what can be done about the enforcement of traffic regulations in the Village, citing the frequent running of stop signs and speeding (in particular on Prospect Avenue).
"That's usually the number one complaint everywhere," replied Inspector Flanagan. "We're doing a record level of enforcement, but sometimes it just doesn't translate."
He said it is an issue that the POP unit can address, setting up in areas at particular times to enforce traffic regulations, and that an officer with a radar gun can be dispatched.
Mayor Lieberman said that he believed the increased police presence along the Boulevard has been very effective in cutting down on the dangerous driving that has been a problem in past years.
As for what number to call for non-emergencies, Inspector Flanagan, responding to a resident's question, said that residents should call 911 any time a police presence is needed - even if it is not an emergency.
With the way the County dispatching system works, it is far more efficient for residents to call 911 directly. If you call the precinct, he explained, the desk officer you reach will then call 911 adding a step to the process.
For chronic issues that do not require a police presence at that time, such as frequent traffic law violations on a particular stretch of road or the ongoing problem of night time partying at a particular park, Inspector Flanagan advised calling the POP unit which can be reached at 516 573 6670.
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SEA CLIFF VILLAGE BOARD HONORS LOCAL RESIDENTS
At it's meeting last Monday, July 17, Mayor Ed Lieberman and Village Board Trustee Deborah McDermott who serves as the board's liaison to youth groups recognized Sea Cliff residents for their recent achievements. Matthew Carmadella, received a certificate of appreciation for his 8 years of service as Commissioner of Sea Cliff Little League Baseball. He is pictured above to the left of current Commissioner James Versocki. Additionally Zoe Malin and North Shore High School English teacher Sara Millman, faculty advisor to the school's student newspaper The Viking View were recognized for the paper having won nearly three dozen awards at the Long Island Press High School Journalism Contest this past May. Ms. Millman was recognized as one of three Advisors of the Year; Ms. Malin as one of three student journalists of the year; and the Viking View as one of three Newspapers of the Year.
STORIES FROM JULY 10 VILLAGE BOARD CONFERENCE