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Town mulls budgeting for more police officers in 2019 spending plan

The Southold Town Board discussed possibly adding another police officer to the staff as part of the 2019 tentative budget. Right now, only two new officers were proposed, but it is likely that number will go to three.

The Southold Police Chief Martin Flatley requested four new officers total, in order to be able to pursue the state accreditation process, Mr. Russell said.

The town police department is the only one in the county that hasn’t been accredited through that program. Implemented through the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services the program will add a level of transparency to department operations on matters such as crime statistics.

The accreditation process is said to take about a year or two, and would require a full-time employee dedicated to the process, and also would require maintenance after accreditation is received.

The board discussed whether or not accreditation was worth it, since it is very expensive to add police officers. Councilman Jim Dinizio thinks accreditation is worth it, because it will highlight things that could improve the department and that it could be legally beneficial.

Mr. Ruland said he would rather see more patrol officers on the street, because safety of the town is the most important issue.

Hiring three police officers instead of two will likely cost $100,000 or more, which will have to be offset somewhere else in the 2019 budget.

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