Tags Posts tagged with "SCPD"

SCPD

Residents gather to discuss drug and heroin use, rehabilitation and laws at the North Shore Drug Awareness Advocates’ monthly meeting. Photo by Giselle Barkley

“Addiction is a family disease.”

That’s what Tracey Budd and social worker Mary Calamia had to say during the North Shore Drug Awareness Advocates’ community event about heroin use on Long Island.

Around 20 residents gathered at the Rocky Point Veterans of Foreign Wars headquarters on Feb. 24 to discuss drug laws, heroin use in the community and how to combat the Island’s heroin issues.

Tracey Budd, of Rocky Point, founded the North Shore Drug Awareness Advocates group to help work with families to try to combat the drug issues on Long Island. Photo by Giselle Barkley
Tracey Budd, of Rocky Point, founded the North Shore Drug Awareness Advocates group to help work with families to try to combat the drug issues on Long Island. Photo by Giselle Barkley

Budd, of Rocky Point, established the North Shore Drug Awareness Advocates group last fall. Her son, Kevin Norris, was one of many heroin users on Long Island before he died of an overdose in September 2012. Budd hoped to educate Long Island communities on drug awareness and establish a support system for drug users and their families who are seeking help, with the creation of this group. She tries to hold a meeting at least once a month.

“I’m hoping that as parents, neighbors, [and] friends, we learn how to advocate [about drug awareness] a little more, rather than putting it on Facebook,” said Budd about residents who have sought help, especially with acquiring Narcan, through social media outlets. She was among several residents, including Dorothy Johnson, who said people need to change how they view heroin users.

Johnson is a member of the Great Bay coalition. She lost her son four years ago to a heroin overdose and has fought to increase drug awareness ever since. For Johnson, heroin and drug users aren’t junkies, but everyday people in need of help.

“It’s not that they’re bad and sitting on a street corner,” Johnson said. “It’s somebody that’s walking around in a suit and tie that comes from a good family.”

Many of these families do not change how they view or deal with their relative once they return from a rehabilitation center. According to Calamia, treating rehabilitated individuals as though they still use heroin or other drugs will only encourage future drug use.

In light of heroin use on Long Island, the Suffolk County Police Department started using Narcan in August 2012, according to Dr. Scott Coyne, chief surgeon for the police department. The anti-overdose medication was used more than 470 times in 2013 and 2014 and 543 times last year. While Narcan allows officials and those trained to administer it to save people who overdose on heroin or opiate-based drugs, public and safety officials said some drug users abuse the system.

Sgt. Keith Olsen, on right, speaks at the North Shore Drug Awareness Advocates’ meeting. Photo by Giselle Barkley
Sgt. Keith Olsen, on right, speaks at the North Shore Drug Awareness Advocates’ meeting. Photo by Giselle Barkley

Capt. William Murphy said the police department has saved an unidentified Mastic Beach resident around 11 times using Narcan. Councilman Kevin LaValle (R-Selden) added that one woman who got into a car crash on Middle Country Road and Nicolls Road a few weeks ago demanded Narcan from First Responders. According to LaValle, officials can’t test a resident’s blood after receiving Narcan.

Currently, patients can go home shortly after officials administer the medication. Budd is trying to establish a 72-hour hold for these patients, which will allows hospitals to monitor patients following the procedure.

She also helped establish a 24-hour hotline for drug users and their families or friends who are looking for help, after she attended a conference at the Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone’s (D) office last September. That hotline should be up and running, according to Budd, by April 1.

“Sometimes I feel bad for the young kids we’re locking up,” said Sgt. Keith Olsen of the SCPD. “They need help. They’re not the dealer. They’re not turning it over. They’re not the ones causing trouble.”

File photo.

A pedestrian was seriously injured in Huntington Station on Wednesday night as he tried to cross Jericho Turnpike.

The Suffolk County Police Department said 15-year-old Carlos Veliz-Hernandez was trying to cross the busy turnpike in his hometown, just west of Melville Road, when he was hit by a 2008 BMW at 9:15 p.m.

Carlos was in serious condition at Stony Brook University Hospital, police said, while the BMW’s 56-year-old driver, a Huntington Station resident, was not hurt.

Police impounded the BMW for safety checks.

Detectives from the SCPD’s 2nd Squad are investigating the crash. Anyone with information is asked to call them at 631-854-8252.

File photo.

A holiday weekend sobriety checkpoint netted nine arrests in Port Jefferson Station, Suffolk County police said.

Cops teamed up with officers from the state Police Department and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to set up the overnight checkpoint on Route 25A between 11:15 p.m. and 3:15 a.m. on July 3 into July 4 and arrested residents from several different communities, police said. A total of 761 vehicles made it through the checkpoint and nine were arrested on various charges, including driving while intoxicated and driving while ability impaired, cops said.

Four residents were charged with driving while intoxicated, including Lisa Strickland, 27, of Port Jefferson, John Jakob, 22, of Selden, Ibidapo Kayode, 21, of the Bronx and David Morgan, 29, of Riverhead, police said.

Two suspects were arrested and charged with driving while ability impaired, including Oscar Quiles Jr., 29, of Bellport and Catherine Frenkel, 30, of Chappaqua, cops said.

Two others were charged with driving while ability impaired by drugs, including Robert Smith, 49, of Blue Point and Charles Leo, 18, of Miller Place, the Suffolk County Police Department said.

Arnold Roundtree, 30, of Shirley, was also arrested and charged with driving without an ignition interlock device and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, the police said.

The operation was conducted for the sake of preventing injuries and fatalities associated with driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs during the holiday weekend, police said.

File photo

A routine speeding stop in Huntington yielded much greater results over the holiday weekend when Suffolk County police arrested Bayshore man Mohamed Khan for driving while intoxicated, among other charges, authorities said.

Suffolk County Police Highway Patrol Officer Robert Scudellari initially flashed his lights behind Khan, 42, for speeding on the eastbound Long Island Expressway between exits 51 and 52 around 1:50 a.m. on July 3, police said. The officer soon learned that Khan, who was driving a 2013 Kia, was also under the influence of alcohol and his license had been revoked, the Suffolk County Police Department said.

Mohamed Khan is accused of driving while intoxicated, among other charges. Photo from SCPD
Mohamed Khan is accused of driving while intoxicated, among other charges. Photo from SCPD

Police also said the man was in violation of his New York State driver’s license restriction that he operate a motor vehicle only if it is equipped with an ignition interlock device, cops said.

Khan was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated and operating a motor vehicle without an interlock device, police said. He was also charged with criminal contempt in the second degree for violating a court order that stipulated he refrain from consuming alcohol, cops said.

The Suffolk County Police Department also said the man had an outstanding warrant for committing the same offence back in January, and had collected seven traffic tickets for vehicle and traffic law violations by the time of his arrest.

His attorney could not be reached for comment.

File photo

A contingent of 21 Latinos from Suffolk County has filed a class-action federal lawsuit suit against the Suffolk County Police Department, claiming several officers robbed them or issued them traffic citations in unfounded, race-based stops over a 10-year period.

Lawyers also charge the department with failing to correct a culture of discriminatory policing that has existed for years within the police force.

The case comes more than a year after Suffolk County Police Sgt. Scott Greene was arrested after a January 2014 sting operation uncovered he was taking money from a Latino driver. The lawsuit, filed in federal court on Wednesday, April 29, lists Suffolk County, its police department, Police Chief Ed Webber, Greene and others as defendants. LatinoJustice PRLDEF and the firm Shearman & Sterling LLP are litigating the case pro bono.

Greene’s arrest sparked the lawsuit, according to the attorneys. LatinoJustice PRLDEF and the nonprofit organization Make the Road New York, which provides services for Latino and working class families, claimed after Greene’s arrest it learned from “dozens of victims who had been too afraid or thought it pointless, to complain about widespread police criminality,” according to a statement by LatinoJustice PRLDEF.

Meanwhile, Bob Clifford, spokesman for Suffolk County District Attorney Tom Spota, responded to the suit in a statement last week. He said that after the DA’s office spent hundreds of hours interviewing more than 50 individuals with LatinoJustice PRLDEF and Make the Road New York, two indictments encompassing 81 criminal charges involving 27 Hispanic victims were returned against Greene alone.

“There is no credible evidence that Greene acted with other police officers,” Clifford said.

All the 21 plaintiffs are anonymous and all, except for one, are male, according to the lawsuit. In a phone interview this week, Foster Maer, senior litigation counsel for LatinoJustice PRLDEF, declined to provide details on where in Suffolk the individuals live, nor could he say if they are related to one another. The sting operation involving Greene occurred in the Farmingville, Medford and Coram areas, according to the lawsuit.

In its statement, LatinoJustice PRLDEF alleges that most of its 21 plaintiffs were stopped and robbed while driving, while others were sitting in a parked vehicle or walking down the street.

“The victims claimed that one or more officers would, in clear violation of police rules, get a hold of the victim’s wallet and then return it a few minutes later with one or two hundred dollars missing,” according to the statement.

The firm also stated that it requested the DA expand the investigation beyond Greene and claims the DA “has not replied to the request and in fact has only indicted Sgt. Greene in the robberies.”

Clifford, in his statement, however, said some of the incidents LatinoJustice PRLDEF claims the DA ignored are covered by the indictment against Greene.

“At no time did LatinoJustice provide any information whatsoever that any victims were robbed by police officers,” he said. “At no time did LatinoJustice provide any audio tape to investigators regarding any alleged crime.”

Asked how the firms would prove the alleged crimes occurred by officers other than Greene, Maer said the case would rely on victim testimony as “pretty hard proof.” He also said Suffolk County has access to location data of police cars, something he hopes will help narrow down officers involved in crimes.

Scrutiny of Suffolk County’s police practices toward Latinos is not new. In 2013, the county Legislature ratified a settlement with the federal Department of Justice, culminating a five-year long investigation following the stabbing death of Ecuadorian Marcelo Lucero, labeled a hate crime.

The 2008 case, which ignited tensions in the county over perceived anti-Hispanic bias within the department, also gained national prominence. That settlement outlines a number of reforms within the department, including a minimum of annual training for officers on removing bias from policing and on identifying hate crimes; designating officers who will interface with local communities to hear concerns and work to solve neighborhood problems; meeting with leaders of the Latino community as well as other minority communities for feedback; and sending all allegations, formal or informal, of police misconduct to the SCPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau for investigation, as well as track complaints and analyze trends.

“As we have done continuously since the beginning of this investigation, we continue to urge victims to contact the district attorney’s office,” Clifford said.

Jennifer Jordan mugshot from SCPD

A woman allegedly crashed through a fence as she fled from an officer who was attempting to pull over her car on Tuesday afternoon, but she was later apprehended.

According to the Suffolk County Police Department, 3rd Precinct officer Craig Knudsen tried to pull over the 2010 Volkswagen at Manor Lane and Bay Shore Road in Bay Shore when the driver fled. Jennifer Jordan, 25, crashed through a fence on the side of the road, at the Sunrise Highway South Service Road near Howells Road.

A short time later, Knudsen arrested the suspect at Howells Road and Richland Boulevard.

Police said Jordan, a Centereach resident and the Volkswagen’s only occupant, was not hurt.

Jordan, who lives on Bonnybill Drive, was charged with fourth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, seventh-degree criminal possession, driving under the influence of drugs and unlawfully fleeing a police officer.

Attorney information for Jordan was not immediately available. On a previous unrelated charge pending against her, for petit larceny, she was listed in the New York State court system’s online database as representing herself. She is also separately facing prior charges of speeding and unlicensed operation of a vehicle.

Police said Jordan is scheduled to be arraigned on Wednesday.

Sandro Vargas mugshot from SCPD

A man who was driving with his young son in the car was arrested on Thursday afternoon and charged with driving high and criminal possession.

According to the Suffolk County Police Department, the defendant, 41-year-old Sandro Vargas, was driving east in a 1990 Buick on Middle Country Road in Selden, at Park Hill Drive, at about 1:30 p.m. when he attempted to go around another car and allegedly sideswiped that car’s rear. His 7-year-old son was in the Buick at the time of the incident.

Patrol officer Greg Sandbichler from the 6th Precinct found Vargas to be under the influence of drugs, police said, and arrested him.

The boy complained of pain after the crash and was transported to Stony Brook University Hospital. Police said he was later released to a family member.

No one else was hurt in the incident.

Vargas, a Coram resident, was charged with aggravated driving while impaired by drugs with a child in the car — a felony under Leandra’s Law — and with endangering the welfare of a child and seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.

Attorney information for Vargas was not immediately available. He was scheduled to be arraigned on Friday.

A Long Island woman was charged with drunk driving after she allegedly clipped a police officer with her car on Tuesday afternoon and fled the scene.

According to the Suffolk County Police Department, the police officer, Dennis Hendrickson, was standing on the shoulder of the Long Island Expressway in Hauppauge, west of exit 56, to assist with traffic control after a crash that closed all westbound lanes. At 2:10 p.m., police said, a 2012 Volkswagen rapidly approached Hendrickson, who signaled to the driver to slow down.

Police allege that the driver, 52-year-old Theresa Finnin-Hunt, disregarded those signals and struck Hendrickson on his right arm and hand as he tried to move out of the way. The suspect allegedly did not stop, continuing west on the LIE shoulder before she was stopped on the highway’s north service road in Brentwood, near Wicks Road, shortly afterward.

Finnin-Hunt, a Sea Cliff resident, was arrested and charged with first-degree reckless endangerment, driving while intoxicated, leaving the scene of an accident with personal injury, third-degree unlawful fleeing of a police officer and reckless driving.

Attorney information for the defendant was not immediately available. She was scheduled to be arraigned on Wednesday.

Police said Hendrickson, a member of the SCPD’s 4th Precinct Community Support Unit, was treated for non-life-threatening injuries at Stony Brook University Hospital.