Suffolk County

Crew members excavate a trench in Huntington to install 4,600 feet of new ductile iron water main. Photo courtesy Suffolk County Water Authority

By Samantha Rutt

In a bid to enhance water service reliability and meet the growing demands of its customers, the Suffolk County Water Authority has embarked on a substantial water main replacement project in Huntington. The project, currently underway near West Main Street, involves replacing over 4,600 feet of old, undersized water main with a larger ductile water main.

The new 12-inch main is poised to significantly improve water flow in the system, allowing SCWA to deliver a more dependable and efficient service to its customers in the area. SCWA Chairman Charles Lefkowitz emphasized the importance of maintaining the integrity of the water main system, particularly during the winter, which experiences the highest incidence of water main breaks. 

“During the winter, we see the busiest time of the year for water main breaks. Being proactive and replacing aging infrastructure ensures that we can reliably serve our customers with high-quality water without interruption,” Lefkowitz said in a statement. 

He explained the proactive approach of replacing aging infrastructure to ensure uninterrupted access to high-quality water for customers.

“Our water main system is one of the most important parts of our infrastructure, making it crucial for SCWA to ensure its structural integrity,” Lefkowitz said.

The significance of this project is amplified by its location in one of Huntington’s busiest areas. West Main Street, a bustling thoroughfare that hosts numerous businesses, restaurants, residences and the renowned Paramount theater, attracts many visitors daily. Ensuring a robust water distribution infrastructure in this area is essential in minimizing the risk of main breaks and water service disruptions.

“The part of Huntington in which this project is taking place is one of the village’s busiest areas, making this project especially important to our residents,” Lefkowitz explained.

The project, which is expected to be completed by mid-February, aligns with SCWA’s commitment to providing water that can be trusted and service that can be relied upon. It reflects the authority’s dedication to modernizing infrastructure to meet the evolving needs of its customers while ensuring the continued prosperity of Huntington’s vibrant community.

Residents and businesses alike can look forward to a more resilient water system that supports the thriving energy of West Main Street and SCWA’s ongoing efforts to deliver water service to the Huntington community.

As the project progresses, SCWA plans to continue to keep the community informed about any developments or potential disruptions, prioritizing transparency and collaboration throughout the process.

For more information and updates on the water main replacement project, residents are encouraged to visit SCWA’s official website ( or contact their local SCWA office.

Gov. Kathy Hochul delivers the New York State Executive Budget proposal at the State Capitol in Albany on Jan. 16. Photo courtesy Office of Gov. Kathy Hochul

By G.T. Scarlatos

Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) delivered the Fiscal Year 2025 New York State Executive Budget proposal at the State Capitol in Albany on Tuesday, Jan. 16, where she announced her record-breaking $233 billion spending plan that looks to allocate funds toward public safety, education and the influx of migrants coming to New York. It also closes a $4.3 billion deficit the state faced. Although the budget proposes a roughly 2% increase from the previous year, this burden won’t be falling on the taxpayer as Hochul made it clear there would be no new increases in state income tax.

In the address, Hochul focused on the needs of everyday New Yorkers with an emphasis on investing in initiatives concerning public safety and affordability. 

“I stand by my commitment to fight the right fights for New Yorkers and pursue the common good,” Hochul said. “We must crack down on persistent crime, invest in children and families, and build the economy of the future. We’re taking action with common sense solutions that are simple, easy to implement. But the truth is, we can’t spend like there’s no tomorrow because tomorrow always comes.”

The governor outlined how the state will strengthen its public safety efforts by continuing to invest in initiatives that work with local communities, law enforcement and nonprofit groups to stem crime and gun violence statewide by devoting additional resources to youth mentorship programs, the police and district attorneys. 

The budget includes $40 million toward tackling property crime and retail theft that looks to bring relief to small businesses by creating a new state police enforcement unit dedicated to driving down the recent spike in retail theft.

“Keeping New Yorkers safe is my number one priority,” Hochul said in the address. “Over the last few years we’ve made historic investments in gun violence prevention programs and it’s paid off. Shootings and murders are way down. Gun seizures are up.”

The spending plan also proposes to increase school aid by $825 million, just a 2.4% increase from last year, considerably less than the 7.7% average increase in aid that districts have received in recent years. 

In an attempt to get ahead of the criticism she would potentially face, Hochul explained, “As much as we may want to, we are not going to be able to replicate the massive increases of the last two years. No one could have expected the extraordinary jumps in aid to recur annually.” 

She also attributed the disappointing figure to a decade-long trend of declining school enrollment for students K-12, by saying, “It’s common sense to ensure that the schools are getting the appropriate money based on their enrollments today compared to what they were a decade and a half ago.”

The governor then recalled how she worked with legislators to bring the state’s reserves from 4% of the budget to a now historically high level of just over 15%. The reserves can be used to stabilize public spending or for one-time emergencies that may leave the state vulnerable. 

In order to provide aid for what she referred to as a “humanitarian crisis,” Hochul plans to dip into the state’s reserves, allocating an extra $500 million of aid to support the approximately 13,600 asylum seekers arriving in New York each month, bringing state spending for the cost of shelter, social services and resettlement up to $2.4 billion. 

Hochul addressed the politically-charged issue and called out for additional support from Washington, saying, “New York continues to carry the burden of sheltering more than 69,000 migrants. Since day one, I have said that it is ultimately the responsibility of the federal government to address this crisis. Congress — the House of Representatives in particular — and the White House must remain at the negotiating table until they restore the rule of law on our border, fix our asylum system and provide relief to states like New York who’ve been shouldering this burden for far too long,” Hochul said. 

She continued addressing her efforts to combat the crisis saying, “I’ll be traveling once again to Washington to advocate for effective immigration reform, a stronger border and increased support from the federal government for New York. But until we see a change in federal policy that slows the flow of new arrivals, we’re going to be swimming against the tide.”

To see the whole budget presentation go to:

Councilman Neil Foley being sworn in by Town of Brookhaven Supervisor Dan Panico on Jan. 11. Snapshot from the town website

Newly elected Supervisor Dan Panico (R) headed the first Town of Brookhaven board meeting of the new year Jan. 11. Panico opened the meeting with a brief call to recognition of children, noting, “Children in this world do not ask for war and are the most innocent among us.” He urged everyone to “think about the children of our world and what they are enduring.” 

Before the meeting commenced, Panico swore in Councilman Neil Foley (R), for his 10th year in office. Foley serves District 5, which encompasses Blue Point, parts of Lake Ronkonkoma, Holbrook, Holtsville and Medford, North Patchogue, Patchogue, East Patchogue and Davis Park Fire Island. 

Following Panico’s opening acknowledgment, the members of the Town Board addressed their several agendas for the Thursday evening meeting. Each meeting has a built-in time slot welcoming public comments, though this particular meeting had no cards registered for comment. 

Some of the most important topics addressed were:

• Approval of a one-year intermunicipal agreement to provide demolition and disposal services for the Village of Port Jefferson for its blighted properties. Approval of this agreement further addresses Port Jefferson’s vacant, abandoned, derelict and blighted properties needing to be demolished.

• Establishment of a Suffolk County Water Quality Protection and Restoration Program for Cedar Beach Habitat Restoration. The cost of the program is projected around $120,000. The project plans to remove invasive plants, establish native plant species and install wildlife tunnels in order to reduce erosion. Additionally, to promote coastal resiliency, improve water quality in Mount Sinai Harbor and the Long Island Sound and support the improvement of vulnerable local diamondback terrapin populations.

• Approval of various improvements to the Brookhaven Town landfill using proceeds from serial bonds totaling $4.5 million. The funding will go toward the cost of various original improvements including, but not limited to, gas management, odor control and leachate control improvements.

• Improvements to localities such as town parks and recreational areas, town parking lots, road reconstruction and right-of-way improvements, among others, were also approved using bonds. 

• Authorized the issuance of $250,000 in bonds for the development of a Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan for the North Shore. 

More information on this Town Board meeting can be found at The next meeting will be held Feb. 1 at Brookhaven Town Hall.

Dan Panico, alongside his family, being sworn in on Jan. 8. Photo by Aidan Johnson

By Aidan Johnson

Dan Panico (R) was sworn in as Town of Brookhaven’s supervisor Jan. 8, marking the first time in over a decade that the town has a new supervisor. He takes over from Ed Romaine (R), now Suffolk County executive. 

Panico had served as councilman for the town’s 6th District since 2010 and as deputy supervisor since 2012. He was elected to the role of town supervisor in last November’s election with 62% of the votes, beating Democratic challenger Lillian Clayman.

“The Town of Brookhaven — I, as the supervisor, and the Town Board — stand ready to meet the needs of the people we represent,” Panico said in his speech during the swearing-in ceremony. “Anyone here who knows anything about me knows two things: I’m not going to let grass grow under my feet, and I’m not here simply clocking time.”

Panico described the issues the town faces that he plans on tackling, citing one of the biggest hurdles as being “how long it takes to get things done in a municipality.” To combat this, he plans on introducing legislation that would shorten the time for necessary projects in Brookhaven to be completed. 

“We are going to shorten the period where a developer with a good project can come before the Town Board, get a change of zone, then site plan approval in the same night, cutting out almost a year on the back end,” Panico said.

Additionally, he announced that the Accessory Apartment Board will no longer exist, and the applications will now be administratively approved by the Building Division, if the application meets the requirements.

The supervisor also said that a partnership is necessary with higher levels of government, citing the need for federal infrastructure money in order to “sewer out our communities” and the environmental bonds from the state government to use for issues such as clean water and the environment.

Panico addressed the lack of access that the residents of North Bellport — which he called “one of the most de facto segregated communities on Long Island” — have to Ho-Hum Beach, that is open only to residents of Bellport, saying that the residents of North Bellport “deserve a means by which to enjoy this Island and go to the beach.” 

“I want to be partners with the village to make this happen, but by no means will I allow this to go,” Panico said. “Even if it means contracting to run our own ferry so that the people of North Bellport can get over to the beach, a community where at times you don’t have two vehicles per household.”

Panico also criticized Gov. Kathy Hochul’s (D) proposals to build housing across Long Island. 

Panico further said that Albany lacks respect for local government because local elections have been moved to even-numbered years starting in 2026, calling it “a mentality of winning by any means, and it is a mentality that is tearing apart this country.”

Along with Panico, Brookhaven Highway Superintendent Dan Losquadro (R), Receiver of Taxes Louis Marcoccia (R) and councilmembers were sworn in. 

District 1 Councilmember Jonathan Kornreich (D-Stony Brook), who serves as the sole Democrat on the Town Council, said that he had total confidence in Panico that “he’s here for the right reasons.”

“I think he’s a guy that once he comes into work in the morning, he leaves the partisan affiliation at the door,” Kornreich said in an interview. 

By Bill Landon

The Shoreham Wading River wrestling team continued their winning ways with a 47-24 win over visiting Mt. Sinai to clinch the league VII title going undefeated (5-0) Wednesday, Jan. 10 at home.

The Wildcats advantage comes at 124lbs and 131lbs with Chris Colon and Gavin Mangano where Colon pinned his opponent in 31 seconds. Mangano took a little longer to pin his challenger at 131lbs at the 2:40 mark of the second period. According to head coach Joe Condon the pair have only lost one match between them this season.

Mt. Sinai’s Brayden Fahrbach at 145lbs. had the shortest match of the night when he pinned his opponent in just 19 seconds.

The Wildcats will look to use their momentum when the Suffolk County Dual Championship competition begins Wednesday, Jan. 17. 

— Photos by Bill Landon

Pixabay photo
Technology revolutionizes emergency preparedness

By Emma Gutmann

On Dec. 29, Steve Bellone (D) capped off his 12-year run as Suffolk County executive with an announcement about the advent of a technology that promises to revolutionize emergency preparedness and response across the county. 

Through Tableau — a data visualization and business intelligence tool — several dashboards with unique specialties were launched simultaneously. The Fleet Management Dashboard, Emergency Operations Dashboard and Snow Fleet Readiness Dashboard will work together to provide immediate and comprehensive data to the county’s Department of Public Works and the Department of Fire, Rescue and Emergency Services. 

Rather than muddling through manual data entry and slow-moving communication, DPW and FRES staff will now have a constant stream of accurate statistics at their fingertips. This operational efficiency will not only save valuable time during emergencies but also boost cost savings and informed decision-making. 

The Fleet Management Dashboard will be an asset to several departments from Public Works to Highway & Grounds Maintenance for its insights into vehicle readiness, maintenance schedules and the operational status of the county fleet. With a countywide view of fleet activity, management can monitor trends over time and optimize operations.

Increased access to fleet availability through the Emergency Operations Dashboard will allow the Emergency Operation Center staff at FRES to view fleet readiness during urgent situations. The dashboard aims to enhance resource allocation and, thus, response efficiency for daily operations as well as Office of Emergency Management activation.

According to an infographic from New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, the OEM activates the State Emergency Operations Center “based upon the scope and magnitude of an incident, and the level of capability needed to effectively respond to the event.” There are four levels of activation that can be called if state-level monitoring or response is required: Enhanced Monitoring, Partial Activation, Full Activation and Full State/Federal Response. The Emergency Operations Dashboard is designed to bring about the quickest and most efficient response in these statewide matters and local matters alike.

Amid winter months, county personnel will benefit from the Snow Fleet Readiness Dashboard as well. This trailblazing technology is slated to save fleet staff approximately four hours per week by streamlining winter readiness reporting.

“In snow or other major weather events, we are able to see the in-service fleet status — fuel and salt levels — in real time,” FRES Commissioner Patrick Beckley said. “We can direct plows to areas in need and we can verify that roads have been plowed when in question.” 

Since their launch less than a month ago, the dashboards have already proven valuable to the Department of Fire, Rescue and Emergency Services and Department of Public Works. 

“During the recent trench rescue in St. James, we were able to quickly identify the closest vacuum truck in the sanitation fleet and contact that division supervisor quickly,” FRES Commissioner Beckley said. “We are looking forward to the development and buildout of other fleet related dashboards.”

“Before the launch of the dashboards, our reporting process was manual, time-consuming, and reliant on multiple channels of communication such as emails, texts and calls, as well as various excel spreadsheets,” DPW Deputy Commissioner Leslie Mitchel said. “While we had the capability to generate reports, the process involved coordination between various DPW divisions and extensive manual data entry, consuming valuable time and carrying the risk of data inconsistencies due to basic human error and less user-friendly reporting tools previously utilized.”

Department heads are pleased with the new additions’ efficiency and are optimistic about the future of fleet and emergency management. The dashboard’s comprehensive view of previously scattered data, which is refreshed nightly, allows the workforce to focus more on strategic planning than tedious data entry.

With this innovative update to emergency procedure, Suffolk County is moving toward more data-driven decision-making for the convenience and safety of the public and personnel. It is the hope of the government that more dashboards will be added to this series to save time and provide guidance in other specialized areas.

Loader in front of a sand salt storage facility. Photo by Gavin Scarlatos

By Gavin Scarlatos

Rock salt has long been one of the primary methods used for combating the onslaught of snow and ice during the winter season. Known for its accessibility and cost effectiveness, rock salt impedes ice formation by lowering the freezing temperature of water and is a common deicing agent used both residentially and by transit authorities. 

The Town of Brookhaven Highway Department maintains numerous salt storage facilities with a combined rock salt capacity of nearly 25,000 tons. During any given snowstorm, the department sets out to treat its 3,700 lane miles of road with rock salt as a preventive measure against treacherous driving conditions. But the widespread dispersal of the sodium chloride chemical compound can lead to unintended consequences that have a negative effect on our trees and other landscape plants.

“Rock salt dries out and changes the pH of soil, and sometimes it even changes the form of fertilizer, so the plants can’t uptake the right amount of nitrogen and other available micronutrients,” said Nick Bates, Long Island district manager of The Davey Tree Expert Company. 

Davey Tree is one of the oldest and largest tree care companies in North America, providing research driven environmental consulting, arboriculture and horticulture services.

“The part of the tree taking in the water from the soil are its fine root hairs,” Bates said. “Rock salt burns the root hairs very easily and dries out the tree’s roots substantially, so the tree won’t be able to pull up water as effectively as before and will dry out or even die off.”

Bates emphasized how this process varies depending on the type of the tree or plant, pointing out how plants growing near the coastline are able to handle the salt intake efficiently while the species of plants located closer to the middle of Long Island are more susceptible to salt damage. 

“Arborvitaes and White Pines are most affected by rock salt,” Bates said. “Sometimes they are planted in traffic mediums and along highways. After the roads start getting salted, you’ll see the Arborvitaes turning a brown or yellow color while those planted away from the road will still be a nice, lush, beautiful green.”

Since exposure to rock salt is in some cases inevitable, Bates offered insight on how to best protect trees and other landscape plants against the damaging effects: “There’s quite a few things you can do. The best thing is to maintain the tree’s health in general, providing the tree with extra fertilizers will boost its ability to better handle external stressors. You can also give trees and plants extra water in the late fall before everything starts to freeze. Giving the trees a deep soaking means they’ll have more water in their systems for when the winter starts to dry them out. You can even give trees extra water in the spring as well, to help flush the rock salt out of the soil.” 

Bates added a warning. “There’s a fine line,” he said. “You don’t want to keep the plants completely flooded so all of the air in the soil gets pushed out and filled with water. The roots still need to be able to breathe.” 

Although traditional rock salt is still the cheapest and most practical deicing agent, there are more environmentally conscious alternatives that better protect plant life. Calcium chloride, while still damaging, does not burn the plants as badly as salt composed of sodium chloride, since it is less potent. 

Another approach is to add sand or even sawdust into the rock salt mixture, providing traction in icy conditions while mitigating the impact on vegetation by reducing the amount of salt being used. Also, preparing for rock salt exposure ahead of time by spreading gypsum or lime on soil in the late fall will reduce rock salt’s negative effects on trees and other landscape plants.

“One of the best things to combat the effects of rock salt is to plant the right trees in the right spots. If you live on a main road where a lot of salt gets spread, you could plant trees that are less susceptible to salt damage, and that’ll make your life a lot easier and the trees a lot happier,” Bates said.

Suffolk County executive Ed Romaine and family at his inauguration ceremony at Eastport-South Manor Junior-Senior High School on Jan. 1. Photos courtesy Ed Romaine’s Office

After 12 years, Suffolk County will see a new face in the executive seat, Ed Romaine, a Republican, the first for his party in two decades. He replaces term-limited Steve Bellone (D).

Romaine was sworn in Jan. 1 at Eastport-South Manor Junior-Senior High School, joined by family and fellow county officials. As well as state officials, also in attendance was U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) who proclaimed the day as “great” for Suffolk County.

Before the podium stood the new county executive as he delivered a speech detailing his thoughts on the upcoming term. 

“As I take this job, I know there will be more problems than solutions, more to be done than what has been done, more quest than conquest,” Romaine said. “Each [new] generation stands on the shoulders of those who have come before us, as I do. So our path must be based on the experiences of past administrations, while being willing to find our own path and reinvent county government.” 

Prior to assuming his new post, Romaine stood as the Town of Brookhaven supervisor since 2012, where he advocated for environmental and quality of life issues while maintaining a focus on strengthening Brookhaven’s finances, a focal point to be continued in his new role. Romaine served as a Suffolk County legislator from 1986-89, before becoming county clerk from 1990 through 2005. 

“One of my top priorities will be strengthening county finances and making our budget structurally balanced,” Romaine said. 

In his inaugural speech, Romaine spoke to key issues at the forefront of his campaign. Placing special emphasis on cybersecurity, improving child protective services, cleaning off surface and groundwaters, securing funding for sewage and alternative denitrification systems, and preserving open space and farmland to prevent overdevelopment.

“This administration will be rooted in the values and traditions of hard work, personal initiative and accountability so we can build a future that is safe and more affordable, and provides hope and opportunity to our citizens,” Romaine said. “As we cast new eyes on old problems, I will seek to reorganize our county government to consolidate services wherever we can to improve efficiency, and to make this government far more cost effective than it has been.”

Gov. Kathy Hochul announces $479 million in grants for water infrastructure projects. Photo courtesy the Office of Governor Kathy Hochul

As on any other weekday, traffic buzzed along Vanderbilt Motor Parkway in Hauppauge on Tuesday afternoon, Dec. 12. Yet unknown to those in their vehicles, it was no ordinary weekday.

At the Suffolk County Water Authority’s Education Center and Laboratory, Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) joined public officials, environmentalists and SCWA staff to launch $479 million in grants statewide to invest in clean water.

The program earmarks $30 million for the state’s clean water septic system replacements, directing $20 million of that sum into Suffolk County. Another $17 million will support protecting drinking water from emerging contaminants, Hochul added.

The governor projected the initiative would spur 24,000 new jobs statewide and save ratepayers $1.3 billion annually.

“This is a great day for the people of this county and the people of this state,” she said. “It’s an investment in our environment. It’s an investment in justice. And it’s an investment in our future for all of our children.”

From left, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone; Gov. Kathy Hochul; Adrienne Esposito, executive director of the Citizens Campaign for the Environment; and Suffolk County Water Authority board chair Charlie Lefkowitz. Photo courtesy the Office of Governor Kathy Hochul

Outgoing Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone (D) reported that 360,000 homes and businesses within the county operate on aging septic systems and cesspools, contaminating the sole-source aquifer on Long Island. He said this stimulus, coupled with a $10 million investment by the county Legislature, would enable the county government to fund septic replacements in 2024 and 2025.

“This is an exciting moment because we can see the path to solving the crisis,” Bellone said, adding the funds would bolster the clean water septic industry in Suffolk while advancing the administration’s two primary objectives of establishing a countywide wastewater management district and the Clean Water Restoration Fund — blocked by the county Legislature earlier this year.

SCWA board chair Charlie Lefkowitz said the funds would assist the public utility in its mission of eliminating emerging contaminants from the drinking supply.

“This announcement today is historic,” he said. “It’s historic that the sewer projects, the septics that contaminate and get into our bays and streams and harbors — we can finally address it.”

He added, “We look at some of these large infrastructure projects that we’re working on — sewer projects, the electrification of the Long Island Rail Road’s Port Jeff Branch — these are projects that when you look back 100, 150 years and none of us are here, they’ll say, ‘That group of people really did it the right way.’”

County Executive Steve Bellone during a press conference in Hauppauge. Photo from Suffolk County

By Nancy Marr

Following the death of George Floyd, Governor Andrew Cuomo in June of 2020 issued Directive 203, requiring all NYS counties to write a plan to reform the policies of their police departments by April 21, 2021.

In September 2020,  Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone announced the formation of a task force, saying “The development of the comprehensive policing plan…will help us build on the progress we have made and implement strategies that will improve policing.” 

In addition to ten task force meetings, ten listening sessions were held throughout the county, in 2020 and 296 community members offered community input. In March 2021 the plan was approved by the Legislature. In December 2021, the Legislature codified the plan to give the Human Rights Commission the responsibility for providing citizen review; and it was submitted to the Governor on April 1. The reform and reinvention plan focuses on the following:

Training and Continuing Education — enhanced accountability through the use of body cameras, training in de-escalation, implicit bias,  the duty to intervene, and integrating community-based organizations into academic training for all police. 

Mental Health Response — the plan calls for overhauling the police department’s mental health response, and collaborating with mental health partners. A 911 operator answering a call will speak to the caller to “assess the nature of the service needed.” If there is no emergency or safety concern, the call will be transferred to a behavioral health center. If the operator concludes that there is a risk to the safety of persons, a contact will be made to a Mobile Crisis Team and the SCPD.

Police Accountability and Citizen Review of SCPD — A key provision of the Suffolk reform plan is civilian oversight of the SCPD through the Suffolk County Human Rights Commission’s Administration of Justice Committee (AOJ). In January 2022, during the pandemic, the Human Rights Commission began the long task of implementing the citizen review panel, exploring and selecting a platform for the submission portal and hiring new staff. After training the investigators and commissioners for their new roles, it went live in March 2023. 

Prior to the reform, residents making complaints would contact the Internal Affairs Bureau (IAB) of the Police Department which was responsible for investigating and responding to the complaints. A complaint may now also be filed with the Human Rights Commission through its online portal by phone or on line. 

The HRC Executive Director and investigators are provided with an IAB case file number, and HRC investigators  review police misconduct investigations in tandem with IAB by means of access to a shared date portal, Axon Evidence. The HRC investigators review cases on a daily basis, and the HRC Executive Director provides a general update on the complaints at monthly meetings.

Prior to a final determination of the complaint, IAB will share its recommendation  with the HRC investigators. If the IAB and HRC cannot agree on the final disposition, HRC can notify the Deputy Police Commissioner and/or the County Executive Police Accountability Liaison, who facilitates conversations between members of the Suffolk County Police Department (SCPD), SCPD Internal Affairs Bureau, and Human Rights Commission to resolve discrepancies in decisions. 

It remains to be seen how a serious disagreement would be solved. Once the disposition is finalized, the Human Rights investigator and/or the police department shares with the complainant the final determination and actions to be taken. Complainants will be able to call Suffolk 311 to be connected directly to the unit.

Information is being compiled by the HRC Committee regarding the public’s experiences with the SCPD and the investigation process in order to monitor how much progress has been made to foster a positive relationship between the SCPD and the public. It is important that all Suffolk County residents know how complaints are made. Go to the HRC portal,, for a complaint form and a breakdown of the complaints made in 2023.

We will be looking for a report from the Commission about whether the process has been effective and recommend that our new County Executive will select a new police commissioner who will continue to implement the reforms. 

Nancy Marr is Vice-President of the League of Women Voters of Suffolk County, a nonprofit nonpartisan organization that encourages the informed and active participation of citizens in government and influences public policy through education and advocacy. Visit or call 631-862-6860.