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Hauppauge

It was Corey Watson’s stick that led the way for the Comsewogue Warriors with five goals in the Division II matchup at home against Hauppauge May 14.

Comsewogue’s offense struggled early in the game having to overcome three unanswered goals by the Eagles. Overcame they did when senior attackman Corey Watson scored two goals back-to-back, Vincent Herbstman answered the call with a goal then Watson followed scoring two more. Michael Katz got on the scoreboard for a 7-4 lead late in the third quarter. The Warriors controlled the game the rest of the way, allowing Hauppauge only one last score, to win it 12-5

Watson topped the scoring chart for the Warriors with five. Katz finished with three goals, and teammates Jake Deacy, James Mantione and Justin Bonacci each scored. Senior goalkeeper Mason Oak saved six.

The win lifts Comsewogue to 4-1 for a share of third place in the division behind Mount Sinai and Shoreham Wading River.

County Executive Steve Bellone with Dr. Gregson Pigott in front of the vaccine pods in Hauppauge. Photo by Julianne Mosher

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone (D) is encouraging residents to get their COVID-19 vaccines.

On Thursday, April 29, he joined Dr. Gregson Pigott, commissioner of the Suffolk County Department of Health Services, Dr. Shaheda Iftikhar, deputy commissioner for the Department of Health Services and Holly Rhodes-Teague, director with the Suffolk County Office of the Aging outside the H. Lee Dennison Building to announce the second phase of the county’s “Take Your Shot” campaign. 

With vaccine hesitancy on the rise, the multi-media campaign will utilize TV, radio and targeted digital advertisements to address misinformation and build trust for those still on the fence. 

Bellone said at the press conference that as of April 29, there were 271 new cases of COVID-19 within the last 24 hours out of 15,628 tests. 

“That’s a positivity rate of 1.7%,” he said. “That is huge.”

He added the last time the county saw a number nearing the 2% mark was at the start of the virus’ second wave back in the fall around Halloween — before the Pfizer vaccine became available.

“We are below 2% positivity, but we’re back in that 1% range where we were throughout the summer last year, when we were still dealing with the pandemic with no vaccines,” he said. “So, this is significant.”

Bellone noted maintaining the lower number is proof that the vaccines are working.

Aline of people ready to get their vaccines. Photo by Julianne Mosher

“We want to get to the point when we say this virus is behind us once and for all, and the vaccines are the key to reaching our goal,” he said. “You need to be doing everything that we can to get people vaccinated to #TakeYourShot.”

The first phase of the Take Your Shot initiative was originally launched late last year in an effort to foster public awareness and designed to encourage county residents on the importance of receiving the COVID-19 vaccines. 

The second phase launched last week will continue to help remove potential barriers for people getting the vaccine. 

“As of yesterday [April 28], more than 660,000 residents have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Suffolk County,” he said. “That’s nearly 45% of our residents. While we’ve made tremendous progress over the last few months, at this point, there are no excuses, vaccines are available to everyone 16 and older.”

Right now, the Pfizer vaccine is the only shot eligible to teenagers, and Bellone said he’s encouraging high school juniors and seniors to do their part. 

“We have a lot of school-related activities that are opening up and coming back — prom, graduation — and we’re very excited that those are going to happen,” he said. “Getting vaccinated is a way to reduce the spread of the virus and make those big gatherings safe.”

Bellone had another message to young people. 

“You have a stake in this county,” he said. “You can be part of the effort to completely defeat this virus in and help save lives.”

The county also announced walk-in vaccination appointments available at select county vaccine pod locations.

“Our residents are busy, they want flexibility,” he said. 

Started on April 29, residents can visit the Selden campus at Suffolk County Community College and get their vaccines anytime between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. 

“We’ve seen promising progress,” he said. “As more of our economy continues to open up, we want to return to normalcy.”

County Executive Steve Bellone stands outside the H. Lee Dennison Building in Hauppauge where a new vaccine rollout will begin in a couple of weeks. Photo by Kimberly Brown

By Kimberly Brown

A new COVID-19 vaccination site finally opened at the H. Lee Dennison Building in Hauppauge, where the vaccine’s mass distribution will be given out to hundreds of residents in the upcoming weeks.

The latest expansion will help Long Island recover from the consistent 4% positivity rate that surged to a height of 12% during the second spike of the coronavirus outbreak in February.

“The numbers have declined since, but they are not declining any further at this point,” Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone (D) said March 24. “We have undoubtedly hit a plateau and are stubbornly maintaining this approximate 4% positivity rate.”

Predicting the positivity rate would drop down to 1% by March, Bellone said his predictions did not happen. The hospitals are still hovering around 400 COVID patients and even with vaccine quantities increasing, officials are continuing to see the positivity rate at a steady level.

According to Bellone, the reason for the consistently high percentage in COVID cases is due to warm spring weather creating an overall eagerness to leave quarantine, making opportunities for locals to catch the virus.

“The fact that many people are getting vaccinated and that spring is here, people are rightly feeling optimistic and positive,” Bellone said. “That is leading to more people coming out, which is a positive thing, but we do need to be cognizant of the fact that the virus is not gone and that there are still risks.”

So far, the county has vaccinated more than 400,000 residents with at least their first dose, but expects to see a rapid increase in vaccination supply in the upcoming weeks. 

Despite the positive outcome of Suffolk County opening up its latest mass vaccination site, other areas on the Island, such as the Twin Forks, remain some distance away from distribution points. Bellone said he is aware of the problem. 

“We’ve gone to great lengths to get to every corner of the county,” he said. “We even took a plane to Fishers Island to make sure we can get residents, who are isolated, the vaccine.” 

Photo by Julianne Mosher

Almost a year to the day of the first reported case of COVID-19 in Suffolk County, elected officials joined mourning families to remember the lives lost. 

On Monday, March 1, Suffolk County Presiding Officer Rob Calarco (D-Patchogue) with his colleagues and officials unveiled a new county COVID-19 memorial in Hauppauge. 

“Over this last year, I don’t think anybody at the beginning would have thought that we would have had so many trials and tribulations, so many challenges and so many losses,” Calarco said.

Since March 2020, there have been more than 500,000 deaths nationwide from the virus, and just over 3,000 in Suffolk County. 

“That is a tremendous number of people,” Calarco added. “And it has left many of us mourning.”

The wooden structure, located outside the Legislature’s William H. Rogers Building at 725 Veterans Memorial Highway, was built and donated by Smithtown Boy Scout Troop 888, and will be on display throughout the month of March.

Families and loved ones are encouraged to write the names of those who have passed, tying the purple ribbons on the metal cords across the wooden planks. It’s a way, Calarco said, to memorialize them.

“Because especially for those who were lost early on, family members weren’t able to lean on each other,” he said. “They weren’t able to be with their loved ones in the hospital due to restrictions. They weren’t able to have the normal funeral and wake process for their friends and family. When we grieve, we need to have the community around us to support us.”

Deputy County Executive Jon Kaiman spoke on behalf of County Executive Steve Bellone (D) who was not in attendance. 

“Three thousand people in this county lost their lives … that’s more than 3,000 families grieving,” he said. “We in Suffolk County stand with them. We grieve with them. We know that we’re in the process of getting through it, we’re getting through it together.”

The first group of families able to share names tearfully thanked the county for honoring their loved ones. 

The family of Sgt. Keith Allison of Brentwood was the first to tie the ribbon. Allison, who spent 25 years in uniform with the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office, died in December after a 17-day battle with the coronavirus. 

“I’m humbled to be here and to accept this ribbon in his name,” said his wife Brenda. “I know that he’s looking down smiling.”

County Sheriff Errol Toulon Jr. (D) said of his former colleague that he was “not only just a friend of mine, but a person who was always smiling, always helpful and always energetic and passionate about his job.”

County Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart came to support the Van Zeyl family. Lt. Robert Van Zeyl, of Selden, passed away from the virus on Jan. 20 after a two-week battle. He was the first active county police officer to succumb to COVID-19. 

“I think we all thought that we would be immune from this tragedy, and it really hit our family very hard, our police family,” Hart said. “Bob was out there every day. He didn’t stop. He didn’t back down during the most difficult of times in this pandemic. So, we were honored to have him in our family, and we will always be honored to have you with us. And we’ll never forget what he’s done for us.”

Van Zeyl’s ex-wife, Tina, joined their two children Hailey and Tyler in the emotional ribbon tying. Hailey had the honor of putting her dad’s name on the memorial. 

“It felt like I was honoring my dad,” she said. “I know he’s proud of me.” Anyone who has lost someone to COVID-19 may submit their loved one’s name for inclusion in the memorial online at scnylegislature.us/covid-19-memorial. The website also provides the option to share a photo and a memory about the person. 

After the county receives the submission, county staff will write the loved one’s name on a ribbon and affix it to the memorial. 

Ribbons will also be made available to those who wish to write their loved one’s name and tie the ribbon themselves, at both the memorial in Hauppauge as well as a temporary structure on the East End in the lobby of the Evans K. Griffing Building at 300 Center Drive in Riverhead. Any ribbons tied in Riverhead will be incorporated into the memorial. 

More information is available at the above website.

Doug Jansson spent 63 days away from his family, battling and almost dying from COVID-19. Photo by Julianne Mosher

Doug Jansson finally got to spend Christmas with his family — nearly two months after the holiday.

Friends and family gathered outside St. Charles Hospital to cheer Doug on. Photo by Julianne Mosher

On Dec. 12,  the 42-year-old pastor was brought into Stony Brook University Hospital after he and the rest of his family contracted COVID-19 in late November. He was intubated in the Intensive Care Unit on Christmas Eve, and placed on life support where it was thought he wasn’t going to make it.

“I think I remember him being sick only a handful of times in the 20 years we’ve been married,” his wife, Kelly, said back in January. “When we got COVID, he was worried about me — nobody was worried about him getting hit this hard.”

But now, the lead pastor of Living World Church in Hauppauge is back home in Smithtown after 63 days.

On Feb. 12, the father of three was wheeled out of St. Charles Hospital in Port Jefferson, where he was undergoing rehabilitation for nine days, since being discharged from Stony Brook on Feb. 3. Jansson said he was able to get up and walk out because of prayer. 

Early on in the pandemic, Jansson organized prayer parades with his church, often visiting local hospitals to support essential workers and victims of the virus. 

Doug embraces his family after two long months apart. Photo by Julianne Mosher

But then he became ill, himself. After being in the ICU for not even two days, he began complaining of severe pain. A CT scan revealed a pleural effusion (fluid in the chest), a secondary pneumonia, pleurisy and a small pneumothorax (air in the chest). His right lung collapsed.

That’s when his wife knew she had to share his story. Kelly logged into his Facebook account and began updating his friends, family and followers of his progress. Some days were better than others, but one thing she kept asking of everyone was to keep praying. 

Kelly said she began receiving messages from people all over the world, telling her they were keeping Doug in their thoughts and prayers. Now he’s finally home.

Doug embraced by his wife, Kelly, while hospital workers cheer on. Photo by Julianne Mosher

Feb. 12 was always a special day for the couple, Kelly said outside St. Charles Hospital the day of his release. Twenty-one years ago, on the same date, he proposed to her. 

And to celebrate his release, nearly 100 people gathered outside with balloons, signs and streamers to cheer the pastor on as he got in his car, ready to go home.  

“I’m thankful that we’re here and so grateful,” Doug said before he addressed the crowd outside. “I know that God has set it up to be just a miracle and something that we can’t express that we know we don’t deserve. But he’s giving, so we’re really thankful.”

When asked how this whole experience made him feel, his voice broke. 

“I would say two words keep coming to mind when people ask me that,” he said. “One is painful. It’s been very difficult, fighting through this and being away from my family. But the other word is, in a weird way beautiful, because I’ve gotten to see doctors and nurses and health care people in a different light and really get to know them.”

He said the essential workers have been there for him and his family. 

“I also feel like God’s put me through this to try to be there for them, to encourage him, pray for and bless them,” he added. “I know that, for whatever reason, this story has impacted people and, you know, that makes going through it worth it because I know people are being drawn to Jesus.”

The family pet, Chewy, was happy to see his dad again. Photo from Kelly Jansson

Nearly a week home, one of his first requests, he said, was to get a slice of pizza from Ciro’s in Smithtown. And on his way home, the pizzeria donated two large pies to the family to celebrate his homecoming. 

The family was finally able to celebrate Christmas, and their dog, Chewy, was so happy to see his dad again.

“He’s doing really well,” Kelly said on Feb. 15 in a phone interview. “He’s working so hard on getting stronger. There’s still a way to go, but we will help him get there.”

And Doug said his couldn’t have done it without the support from his family, church, faith and the prayers from strangers. 

“I am so grateful to God to be home with my family after all this time,” he said. “We are enjoying every second of it.”

Doug and Kelly Jansson have been chronicling Doug’s near-death experience with the virus, and want people to know it can happen to anyone. Photo from Kelly Jansson

Doug Jansson hasn’t been home in over six weeks, and his story is being heard all around the world. 

Right now, the lead pastor of Living Word Church in Hauppauge is in the Intensive Care Unit at Stony Brook University Hospital, said his wife Kelly Jansson. But the good news is he’s alive and heading toward recovery after a terrifying battle with COVID-19. 

On Nov. 30, the Jansson family tested positive for the virus. After 10 days, his wife said, Doug was getting worse so they called an ambulance.

“I got a phone call the day before Christmas Eve that he was declining,” Kelly said, her voice breaking. “They didn’t think he was going to make it.”

Doug, a healthy, athletic 42-year-old father of three from Smithtown, shouldn’t have gotten the virus, she said. 

“I think I remember him being sick only a handful of times in the 20 years we’ve been married,” she said. “When we got COVID, he was worried about me — nobody was worried about him getting hit this hard.”

Kelly said the next day he was put on a ventilator. “He was not doing well,” she said. “They weren’t sure if he was going to make it half the day.”

But she said the doctors and nurses at SBUH have been “amazing” toward her husband and family.

“I got a phone call saying they had a plan to save his life,” she said. 

Doug spent six days on life support and 13 on a ventilator. Eventually he was moved to the ICU where he sent his wife a text after more than two weeks.

“It was the best day of my life — it was incredible,” she said. 

Doug Jansson. Photo from Kelly Jansson

After being in the ICU for not even two days, he began complaining of severe pain. A CT scan revealed a pleural effusion (fluid in the chest), a secondary pneumonia, pleurisy and a small pneumothorax (air in the chest). His right lung collapsed.

Early on in the battle, Kelly — who isn’t on social media herself — decided to update Doug’s Facebook friends on his page, chronicling what was going on inside the hospital walls. His story has been shared hundreds of times thus far. 

“That’s Doug’s personality,” she said. “He’s so down-to-earth and real — I knew people would pray for him knowing what was happening.”

And the prayers are working. Throughout his illness, members from Doug’s church made it known they were praying for him.

Early on in the pandemic, Doug organized prayer parades around the hospitals. He held drive-in services to eliminate in-person gatherings. Now, he’s the one receiving prayers.

“I’ve gotten messages from people in other countries saying they’re standing and praying for him,” she said. “Now that Doug is fully awake and reading all these comments on Facebook with such encouraging words, he is so blown away that this was happening.”

Although Doug is still in the ICU, he’s stable. His oxygen levels are gradually going up, his voice is coming back and he can FaceTime with his family and friends from his hospital bed. He said that God was watching out for him these last six weeks, and that all the support from his neighbors and strangers has been emotional for him. 

“It’s been incredible,” he said. “All these random people praying for us, believing in us and praying to get me out of here … it literally brings tears to my eyes.”

Doug said he is so thankful for being able to tell his story, especially since he almost lost his life.

“There’s always hope in God,” he said. “During impossible situations, he comes through.”

His wife said it’s not over yet, and he has a long battle ahead of him. “But every day is a step forward, and any step forward is a significant step.”

While his titles are father, pastor, husband and son, Kelly said she has another name for him now.

“There is no doubt this is a miracle — God responded and did something,” she said. “I call him Miracle Man … God did this.”

State Senator Mario Mattera at the podium. Photo by Kimberly Brown

By Kimberly Brown

Republican elected officials gathered at a press conference in Hauppauge Thursday, Jan. 14, calling out Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) on the state’s failed vaccine rollout.

Elected officials in Hauppauge. Photo by Kimberly Brown

State senators, including Mario Mattera (R-St. James) and Anthony Palumbo (R-New Suffolk), demanded that Cuomo implement a plan to fix issues that have arisen since the vaccine was authorized to be distributed.

Senior citizen and West Babylon resident, Anna Foley, shared her experience of how difficult it has been to obtain the vaccine, which she has still not received.

“I’m 83 years old, fighting two types of cancer and other underlying medical problems,” she said. “I can’t seem to get anyone to help. I have looked at the New York State website, called pharmacies, doctors, hospitals, and I even tried my union to see if I can get any information, to no avail.”

Foley mentioned the difficulties senior citizens are facing while trying to make an appointment for the vaccine, saying that most people ages 80 and over are not computer savvy, and the locations where the vaccine is administered are too far to drive to.

Mattera pointed out how the federal government still has not released the new vaccine to pharmacy chains like Walgreens and CVS, giving residents fewer options of locations where they can receive the vaccine.

State Senator Mario Mattera at the podium. Photo by Kimberly Brown

In his plea to the governor, Mattera said, “Get the vaccine here and get more locations. Right now, there are four locations, and do you know what they say? They say, ‘We don’t know what to do, we can’t help you.’ It’s unacceptable.”

The partial and full closings of businesses, mandated by Cuomo, were intended to combat rising numbers of COVID-19 cases. However, Palumbo said even though businesses are partially closed, the cases are still increasing.

“The Legislature needs to get involved, we need to get control back,” he said. “We need to get those vaccinations out, and as quickly as possible — not throw them in the garbage.”

Many of the politicians also discussed the bill Cuomo signed into law June 17, which would allow every pharmacist in New York state to administer the COVID-19 vaccine. State Assemblyman Doug Smith (R-Holbrook) demanded to know why the bill has not been put into full force.

“Now we’re in January, governor, where is your plan?” Smith said. “Why is every single pharmacy in the state of New York not able to administer this vaccine?”

 

File photo

Suffolk County Police said they are investigating a car crash that killed a woman in Hauppauge Monday morning.

Police said Michelle Carpenter, 35 of Selden, was driving a 2000 Pontiac Grand Prix westbound on the Long Island Expressway near exit 53 Oct. 2 when she swerved to avoid traffic that had stopped in front of her. Carpenter lost control of the vehicle, which struck a tree and flipped over in the wooded area off the shoulder at around 8:15 a.m.

Carpenter was transported to Southside Hospital in Bay Shore where she was pronounced dead. A 4-year-old boy who was in the rear seat was transported to Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center in West Islip for treatment of minor injuries.

The vehicle was impounded for a safety check. Detectives are asking anyone with information about the crash to call the 4th Precinct at 631-854-8452.

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Elected officials stand with brides, business owners and concerned community members asking Albany to change the executive order from 50-person events to 50% capacity. Photo by Julianne Mosher

Brides, business owners and elected officials all stood together outside the H. Lee Dennison Building in Hauppauge Oct. 2 begging Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) to increase the capacity of events like weddings, Sweet 16s and other catered parties. 

“By limiting us, it’s creating a more dangerous situation.”

— Gennaro Tallarico

Right now, restaurants have been allowed to operate at a 50% capacity, while catering venues are still capped at just 50 people. Those at the rally said desperate families, who have waited their whole lives to celebrate their special day, are more likely to host events elsewhere, instead of safely inside their chosen venue.

“These events haven’t stopped, these events moved,” said Gennaro Tallarico, manager of The Inn at Fox Hollow in Woodbury. “They moved into people’s homes, to their backyards. They moved into event spaces where they don’t have liquor licenses and who are not afraid to open up and break the rules. … By limiting us, it’s creating a more dangerous situation.”

Kiran Wadhwa and Indu Kaur of Port Jefferson Station’s The Meadow Club also showed their support, especially since their venue has three separate ballrooms. After having to close due to a fire in 2018, the club has been under renovation for more than two years, and then had to delay its reopening because of the pandemic.

“Not being able to open at 50% capacity would be devastating to our family business,” Wadhwa said. “We need to be able to recover the loss of two years of income, and we won’t be able to break even with 50-person events.”

Friday’s event was headed by Riverhead Town Councilwoman Jodi Giglio (R), who is also a candidate for New York State Assembly. She said the current 50-person limit these events are allowed is detrimental to not only anxious brides and grooms, but to the Long Island economy.

“Facilities with the capacity for 300, 500 and 700 guests are being forced to operate as if they were all the same size,” Giglio said. “They are going bankrupt and need to feed their families. We need the governor to let them safely serve their customers, put their employees back to work and pay their bills.”

Caterers across the state have filed a class-action lawsuit against Cuomo saying their businesses can be just as safe, if not safer. They argue that with many venues being able to hold more than 300 people, a 50% cap would still allow social distancing, with guests still being able to celebrate.

“An industry that is supposed to be happy is losing hope. It’s crushing the dreams of a fairytale wedding.”

Jodi Giglio

With the wedding industry on Long Island generating an estimated $6 million a year in sales tax, according to a representative from Scotto Brothers, as well as being one of the state’s largest employers, no one has made a profit this year thanks to COVID-19, and many businesses are on the brink of closure.

“An industry that is supposed to be happy is losing hope,” Giglio said. “It’s crushing the dreams of a fairytale wedding. … All of our local businesses have suffered. Our message to the governor is we can do this safely, we can adjust  — and flexibility is a must.”

Along with the maximum-person cap, mingling and dancing are also prohibited under the state’s executive order.

Heather Cunningham, founder of the website and online-based bridal group Brides of Long Island, said she is just seeking fairness.

“I’m not asking for a packed dance floor,” she said. “I’m asking for that moment where a father can dance with his little girl.”

“We need to look at things differently,” Suffolk County Legislator Kevin McCaffrey (R-Lindenhurst) said at the event. “They are responsible business owners. They know how to keep their customers safe.”

John Salkowsky, owner of Lindenhurst-based Silverfox, said that “catering halls are the heart and soul of our community.” Businesses, like his photography and videography service, then follow. “I hope this shines a bright light,” he said. “I hope this makes a change.”

The general feeling among owners is if things continue this way, many of them might have to close for good.

“We hope Governor Cuomo has heard our industry’s plea because we are suffering and cannot go on like this for any longer,” Wadhwa said.

The H. Lee Dennison Building lawn in Hauppauge was a sea of flags Oct. 4 as participants showed support for law enforcement officers across the state.

A few thousand people gathered around the war monuments in front of the Suffolk County building waving American, thin blue line and Trump 2020 flags at the “Back the Blue” rally organized by law enforcement associations and unions representing more than 80,000 law enforcement officers from the New York metropolitan region.

Suffolk County Police Benevolent Association President Noel DiGerolamo, Nassau County Police Benevolent Association President James McDermott, New York City Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch, U.S. Rep. Peter King (R-NY2), family members of fallen officers and more were on hand to address the crowd during the two-hour rally.

Genesis Familia, of the Bronx, was one of the first speakers and was visibly emotional. Her mother, New York Police Department Detective Miosotis Familia, was killed July 5, 2017, by a gunman while she sat in her mobile police command post in the Bronx. The 12-year veteran was 48 years old.

“Ever since that night, my life has been somewhat of a living nightmare,” the daughter said. “My mother was targeted for her blue uniform that she proudly wore for over a decade.”

Familia remembered the last time she saw her mother alive when she asked her for another hug before saying goodbye. She said after her mother’s murder she has helped raise her younger brother and sister. Officers like her mother at times sacrifice time with their families to protect all New Yorkers, Familia said, and she wanted to remind everyone that police officers are “human beings with families and loved ones who need them to come home, just like I needed my mom to come home to me that night.”

Kathy Vigiano, president of Survivors of the Shield, an advocate group for fallen police officers’ widows and children, had a plea for the press to report the “real numbers” regarding crime. Vigiano is a retired police officer and the widow of Joseph Vigiano, a police officer who died in the line of duty on 9/11.

“How many times do police officers put their lives on the line to take illegal guns off the street?” she asked. “New York City police officers took 607 guns off the street in the month of September alone without incident.”

She said officers put their lives in danger every time they stop someone.

“He doesn’t know who he’s stopping,” Vigiano said. “He doesn’t know when he pulls you over for a broken light who you are, but we all know who he is. It’s his job to ensure our safety. It’s his job to come home to his family. To the criminals I say, ‘How dare you? How dare you put his life in danger resisting whether passively or violently.’”

According to a press release from Suffolk PBA, crime is up in the state. It cites national numbers as at mid-July where the number of cops killed in the line of duty was 32, an increase of 28% compared to the previous year’s numbers. It also cites the murder rate in New York City which was up by 50% in August, according to NYPD data.

“The number of police officers killed in the line of duty has surged 28% nationally, as anti-police rhetoric, protesting and riots continue across the nation,” the local PBA said in the release.

During the rally, attendees would sporadically chant, “Back the blue,” and play sirens and blow horns, while drivers passing by on Veterans Highway could be heard honking and shouting words of encouragement.