A North Shore lawmaker and former Suffolk County detective has his sights set on the Suffolk County Police Department.
County Legislator Rob Trotta (R-Fort Salonga) took to the Legislature this week to introduce a procedural motion that would establish a special committee to watch over the county’s law enforcement operations. If enacted, the committee would investigate and oversee different aspects of the county police department, the legislator said.
Trotta has been an outspoken critic of the police department, recently calling for the demotion of former police chief, James Burke, after his resignation amid being charged with civil rights violations and obstructing an investigation. In a statement, Trotta said there was enough evidence to support his proposed need for a committee overseeing operations of the department.
“As a result of the recent allegations of wrongdoings by top officials in the Suffolk County Police Department and other law enforcement agencies, I felt compelled to sponsor this measure to review all aspects of law enforcement operations in Suffolk County,” Trotta said.
The lawmaker said the special committee would be comprised of six members of the Legislature who would be tasked with reviewing the operations, procedures and practices of the entire police department as well as the district attorney’s office and the sheriff’s office. The committee would also investigate allegations of favoritism, the lack of adequate rules and procedures and the failure to comply with laws already on the books relating to internal affairs investigations in the police department, Trotta said.
The Suffolk County Police Department did not respond to requests seeking comment.
“As a retired Suffolk County detective who was assigned to the FBI’s Long Island task force for 10 years and now as a legislator, I feel it is incumbent upon me to try to rectify the situation created by a few bad apples in various departments,” Trotta said.
The county Legislature scheduled a review of the procedural motion at its public safety committee meeting today, Feb. 4, at 9:30 a.m. If put into effect, the committee would be empowered to administer oaths and affirmations, and to compel the attendance of witnesses and the production of books and papers related to the review and investigation. It will have subpoena power with approval of the Legislature and will hold meetings and hearings as needed. In addition, the committee is authorized to hire the necessary staff to conduct its investigation, subject to appropriations by the Legislature, according to Trotta’s statement.