This week in North Fork history: Town, village settle police lawsuit

SUFFOLK TIMES FILE PHOTO | The page one photo in the Feb. 13, 1997 issue of The Suffolk Times.

Excerpts from Suffolk Times stories published between 10 and 80 years ago this week:

15 years ago …

Police suit settled: Town, Village reach accord ‘without yelling’

Greenport’s police coverage lawsuit against Southold Town has come to an end without a judge’s decision or any admission of guilt, editor Tim Kelly wrote in the Feb. 13, 1997 issue of The Suffolk Times.

The negotiated settlement contained written assurances the town police department would provide full coverage on “public safety” issues within the incorporated village area. The enforcement of other codes, however, is left to the department’s discretion, we wrote.

Although the document appears to mandate no change in the police force’s current operations, the language is such that both sides can claim victory, we wrote. Greenport Mayor David Kapell told us the town’s police presence had already begun to improve in Greenport while the lawsuit was working its way through the court system.

“[The settlement is] everything we asked for,” said Mr. Kapell said, whose administration launched the suit in 1995. “Our major goals were accomplished and I’m happy about it.”

Southold Town Supervisor Jean Cochran said the agreement ended a period of hostility between the two municipalities. “We were able to work it out without yelling all over the rooftops,” she said.

80 years ago …

That’s the wrong car, lady

A Peconic woman called police after she found the front windshield of her Ford coupe smashed in, the window curtains missing and the inside all muddy near where she left it in Greenport, we reported in the Feb. 5, 1932 issue of The Suffolk Times.

After police arrived she was told the car wasn’t hers, and she was shown her car, which was “spick and span along the curb where she left it” down the road.

“To say she was embarrassed would be putting it mildly,” we wrote.

30 years ago …

Town Board splits on Robins Island vote

After a 41-resolution show of unanimity, the six-member Southold Town Board split down the middle on the familiar wedge of Robins Island and voted down the proposed county acquisition of the island at its Feb. 9, 1982 meeting, we reported in that week’s issue of The Suffolk Times.

Councilman Ray Edwards cast the swing vote against, we reported, breaking away from the apparent preservation block consisting of Councilmen Frank Murphy, Joe Townsend and Supervisor Bill Pell.

The New Suffolk School District offered its concern over the island coming off the tax rolls. Owners Southold Development Corporation had been paying more than $225,000 in annual taxes on the land., which the county was looking to purchase for $2 million in a preservation effort.

Postscript: The county attempted to buy the land again in 1989, but lawsuits held the deal up. It is currently privately owned by Wall Street financier Louis Bacon, who purchased the island for $11 million at a bankruptcy court auction in 1993.

25 years ago …

Rape case leads to cop recording ban

The use of tape recorders by police officers is now prohibited unless otherwise ordered, Southold police chief Daniel Winters told us in the Feb. 12, 1987 issue of The Suffolk Times.

The change in departmental policy came as a consequence of the trial of a 23-year-old Southold man charged with rape.

According to our 1982 report, an officer testified that he was told by other Southold cops to destroy an audio taped interview with the victim in the case. The officer he accused of telling him to erase the tape denied the claim in court.

The trial ended in a hung jury.

10 years ago …

Building keeps on building

New home construction in Southold Town went up 14 percent in 2001 after a 10 percent increase the year before, we reported in the Feb. 14, 2002 issue of The Suffolk Times. Permits for 337 new homes were issued in 2001.

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