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Bellone: Anti-Gang Unit Redeployed to Huntington Station

County executive, police commissioner announce Tuesday plan to decentralize headquarters-based unit to local communities.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone joined a large group of elected officials and area leaders in Huntington Station Tuesday in a joint news conference to announce a move to increase cops on the street in the fight against gang violence.

"We are taking a big step forward today in the fight against gangs in this county and Huntington Station," said Bellone in the parking lot of , located across the street from the scene of recent .

Created in 2009, the Patrol Special Operations Team responsible for focusing on gang hot spots was ineffectively moved to a centralized location by former Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy, according to Bellone.

Making good on a campaign promise, Bellone, along with acting Police Commissioner Edward Webber, dispanded the headquarters-based gang unit to give precincts the resources needed to fight gangs more effectively and put more cops in high crime areas, according to Bellone.

Calling plan a 180 degree switch from the policy of his predecessor, Bellone said it's one that "makes sense." 

"By decentralizing this unit, the officers will now bring their intelligence to the precinct level, sharing their knowledge with fellow officers, fostering familiarity with the communities served and adding more flexibility to staffing and resources," said Bellone in a release.

Bellone said communities can't feel safe, prosper or develop the economy in places where gangs are allowed to operate.

In Huntington Station, the gang unit will consist of four officers and one police sergeant, according to Second Precinct Police Inspector Ed Brady.

Police say the announcement means increased personnel in Huntington Station and officers who are more familiar with the local gangs, police say.

According to Brady, the unit has netted 15 arrests since its inception five days ago — including the arrests of three gang members.

"These officers at one time did work at the Second Precinct but were redeployed to work at headquarters to work in centralized command," said Brady. "They have since been sent back to the precincts from which they came in order to concentrate on area problems."

Huntington Town Supervsor Frank Petone said he applauds the move by Bellone to decentralize forces in the fight against crime.

"The only way to move [gangs] out is to concentrate resources in every community," said Petrone. "As a former supervisor who had a community with issues and problems [Bellone] knows where we can really attack this." 

Local leaders hailed the move as a step in the right direction in a community which has seen its share of crime incidents recently.

"It gives me great hope that we're going to turn a new page and start working effectively together to solve the problems of this community," said Huntington School Board Trustee Jen Hebert, on hand with a large contingent of school board members from the two Huntington school districts.

"Putting the task force back into the Second Precinct is something I have repeatedly requested from the commissioner's office," said Suffolk County Legis. Lou D'Amaro in a release.

Newly-elected 18th District Legis. William Spencer said he's excited to work with Bellone's team assembled to find creative solutions to neighborhood crime issues.

"I have always said that working together, we can do anything," said Cooper, in a release.

joe r January 30, 2012 at 03:49 PM
the neighborhood is well beyond repair. i have lived in the area almost 40 years. shot spotter works after an incident occurs, it dosen't prevent an incident. One thing the town officials don't realize is that you can't scare these people. Good people will leave because they are not going to wait for the miraculous turnaround which will never happen. they took it because the town let them and now they want to try to save face. "look we're doing something". i worked with people from central america for over 20 years great to work side by side with and you can't outwork them but this is how things are settled and fixed there. you would have to change their mentality to change things . Good luck
Steve January 30, 2012 at 08:49 PM
"Newly-elected 18th District Legis. William Spencer said he's excited to work with Bellone's team assembled to find creative solutions to neighborhood crime issues."?? Creative? Is he kidding? How about flooding the streets with armed INS agents and police officers checking immigration status. And then deporting whoever is here illegally. Want an excuse to ask for citizenship proof? Pass strict "no loitering" ordinances from Jericho tpk to the Big H shopping center. How about steep fines and/or jail for any landlord or employer who rents to or hires an illegal? Is that creative enough? Now now....my gosh...we can't do that... Better to have the entire area converted to an illegal third world slum which feeds off the schools, hospitals, and other free benefits that US citizens pay for in their taxes. Better to have illegal's taking construction and restaurant jobs from US citizens with the unemployment rate as it is. Better to REACT only to the daily stabbings, robberies, rapes and murders. Where are the real politicians? When is someone going to take control of this town?
joe r January 31, 2012 at 04:48 AM
politicians only have their own agenda, why do people, who are already likely well to do, care to help anyone. they usually don't they just want political power that furthers their own interests. i can't really stomach any of these political types. why there isnt a checkpoint on ny ave is beyond me. people would say that is a police state but in a case where you have nightly incidents maybe it'll unerve the bad guys a little bit. Also one common thread in bad neighborhoods is 24 hour stores ie; laundromats 7-11's etc. that dosen't help
David albert October 07, 2012 at 01:33 AM
Frank Petrone dosnt care about fixing Huntington Station he just wants to stop crime from spreading into upper class area's. Their position on crime has always been containment. When one of these rich kids gets killed buying drugs in Huntington Station then you will see a crack down on gangs till then poor people will get robbed,shot,and terrorized and unless they know somebody on the town board nothings going to change.
matt harris January 30, 2013 at 02:51 PM
So much for this grandstanding. one year, now done.


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