For Immediate Release
June 26, 2018
Contact: County Executive Press Office
631-853-4000 | Press.Office@suffolkcountyny.gov
COUNTY EXECUTIVE BELLONE, DEMOCRATIC LEGISLATORS SEND A MESSAGE TO GOP CAUCUS: STOP PLAYING POLITICS WITH PUBLIC SAFETY
Republican Caucus Voted Against Funding Public Safety Projects Including Mobile Tablets for Police Vehicles
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone today joined Democratic Legislators to demand Republican County Legislators withdraw their opposition to funding critical public safety projects that have been authorized and appropriated by the County Legislature.
The Republicans recently voted against a $3.5 million bond resolution that would fund projects such as Mobile Data Terminals (MDT) – mobile tablets that come equipped with important timesaving features, such as expanded mobility that provides additional reliability, and Voice and Video calling that provides a dramatic increase in language access capabilities. The new MDTs also enable police officers to conference with supervisors so that they can make better informed and rapid decisions during critical events. Police officers would also have mobile access for data inquiries so that officers can remain together when responding to calls such as domestic violence. The funding would be used for this year’s phase of installation of approximately 150 new Mobile Data Terminals in Suffolk County police vehicles. The funding for this initiative previously received unanimous legislative approval for two consecutive years.
"The Republican Caucus is playing politics – first by refusing to fund school safety measures, and now holding law enforcement hostage with their refusal to fund cutting-edge technology for police vehicles,” said Suffolk County Executive Bellone. “If Tom Cilmi and his Republican allies want to continue using a nonsensical rationale as the basis for their obstruction, then they will have to answer to the thousands of teachers, parents and police officers who stand to benefit from these important projects.”
The critical public safety bond resolution that Republican Legislators failed to approve also included appropriating $225,000 in funds to upgrade the Suffolk County Police Department’s core systems and network infrastructure, which are currently no longer supported by the manufacturers. As the Suffolk County Police Department continues to expand and grow their use of technology-led policing initiatives, the system and networks supporting these initiatives are in need of upgrades. By not upgrading the outdated operating systems, the Suffolk County Police Department and County are more vulnerable to a cyber-attack.
The bond resolution also included appropriating $160,000 in funds for the replacement of equipment used in police investigations that is at or is near the end of useful life. The equipment that needs replacing includes the Authenticated Digital Asset Management system (ADAMS) and storage serves. The serves, which preserve digital photograph and video recording files for evidentiary purposes, are nearing capacity and their end of life. It is crucial that they are replaced to avoid the loss of evidence. Additionally, the current systems need to be upgraded to be able to implement the state mandated video interrogation program.
Suffolk County Legislature Deputy Presiding Officer Rob Calarco said: “To vote 18-0 for the projects and then vote against the bond is just playing politics, it is as simple as that. These projects are critical for moving County government forward.”
Suffolk County Legislature Majority Leader Kara Hahn said: “It is incredibly disappointing when votes are taken in this matter, purely political, when government stops working just to score political points. We are here to make sure the roads are paved, bridges reconstructed, we are here to make sure our police operate in the most efficient way possible, most effective way possible and we strongly believe these projects are critical and need to move forward.”
Suffolk County Legislator Bill Lindsay said: “It is disheartening that we must continue to ask the GOP caucus to support funding for critical investments that shouldn’t be prolonged, specifically bond resolutions for our local police departments. The men and women in blue put themselves in harm’s way each and every day in order to protect us. The least we can do as a legislature is ensure that they are given technology improvements for police vehicles, as well as information technology services that will allow their servers to remain online during emergency situations. Language access compliance is another important bond resolution that the GOP has opposed. This funding is of the utmost importance to our diverse community here in the County. I urge my colleagues to change their minds, and vote in favor of these bond resolutions when they are presented to the legislature in the future. Suffolk County Police Officers and our residents deserve updated technology and stellar communication in order to keep everyone educated, alert, and safe.”
Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker said: “The County Executive is here, he is listening and he is willing to work with the other party, however what the other party is doing is playing politics. This new technology is being stopped. Drug dealers have new technology, government is waiting to catch up, it is political games that are standing in the way.”
Suffolk County Legislator Susan A. Berland said: “As a former Councilwoman for the Town of Huntington, our bond resolutions were largely grouped and voted on as a whole. At the County, separate bonding resolutions were offered for each individual project. This resulted in the Minority Caucus voting against the funding of projects they claimed to support. This is the height of hypocrisy.”
Last week, Democratic Legislators and concerned parents joined with County Executive Bellone to demand Republican County Legislators withdraw their opposition to a bond resolution that included a program called the Public Safety Rapid Response Project, a program that would provide every K-12 school district in Suffolk County access to the RAVE Panic Mobile Application. The $2 million capital bond would provide the County with an unlimited, perpetual licensing model for the RAVE app, and with it the capacity to offer access to the 450 K-12 schools across Suffolk County. The state-of-the-art app, provides a stratum of features, all designed to dramatically enhance the County’s police and first responders ability to effectively react and respond to active shooter events, among other emergencies. Republican Legislators continue to block key public safety initiatives that would protect the health and wellness of Suffolk County residents.