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Police chief: Accreditation process would take more than a year

Martin Flatley

Every police department in Suffolk County — from the smallest village to the countywide police force — is accredited through New York State, a process that “provides formal recognition that an organization meets or exceeds general expectations of quality in the field,” according to the state’s website.

The lone exception is the Southold Town Police Department, the only one in the county that hasn’t been officially accredited through the program.

But at Tuesday morning’s work session, Police Chief Martin Flatley said accreditation would take more than a year and would require a police officer to be pulled off the road full-time to complete the process. That, he explained, is why the department has not pursued it yet.

“Ours has always been stymied by not having somebody specific assigned to get it done,” Chief Flatley told the board. “It has to be someone from the department who’s familiar with our operating procedures.”

John Slattery, chair of the town’s police advisory committee, suggested that committee members could assist a police employee with the work, though Chief Flatley continued to claim the work would be intensive. The chief also said the department would need to find someone willing to do work, which can be tedious at times, diligently.

“Not everybody wants to sit behind a desk and rewrite all your standards and go to seminars,” he said. According to the chief, accreditation wouldn’t open up more grant opportunities for the town. He also claimed that compared to the accreditation requirements, the department’s standards are “right about where they are right now, we just haven’t been through the process.”

Supervisor Scott Russell said he believed accreditation was a “worthwhile idea,” though he didn’t know how to address the staffing concerns. The police advisory committee will continue to look into the process.

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File photo: Southold Town Police Department Chief Martin Flatley. (Credit: Paul Squire)