Assemblyman Philip Ramos (D-Central Islip) is fighting to keep police at full force on Suffolk roadways. He recently met with representatives from the Suffolk County Police Benevolent Association and the Suffolk Detective Association to discuss Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy’s threat to cut highway patrols. Ramos met with Fred Sales, Sergeant-at-Arms for the Suffolk County PBA, and James Hughes, Second Vice President of the Suffolk Detective Association.
“This is simply an issue of safety. We cannot jeopardize the safety of children and families in order to make improvements to the county’s bottom line,” Ramos said. “There has to be a better solution than cutting the manpower we depend on to keep two major Long Island highways safe.”
Suffolk County PBA president Jeff Frayler said Ramos is right to make safety the top priority. “While some people are playing politics with the safety of Suffolk residents, Assemblyman Ramos is putting the health and safety of Suffolk families first by pushing to keep Suffolk Highway Patrols on these roads,” Frayler said.
Suffolk County Police patrol 490 miles of roadway on the Long Island Expressway and the Sunrise Highway, considered two of the most dangerous roads in the state. Last year alone, Suffolk County’s Highway Patrol responded to 30,000 calls and 5,882 accidents, and made 894 DWI arrests on the Expressway and Sunrise Highway.
“We’re looking at a force that constantly deals with fatalities, fleeing criminals, disabled motorists and thousands of commuters, and helps local precincts during emergencies,” Ramos said. “Cutting staff will put lives at risk.”
It has been suggested that New York State Troopers would take over if Suffolk patrols were pulled from the highways. However, there has been no commitment from New York to put Troopers on the Expressway and Sunrise Highway in place of Suffolk Police.
“Pulling Suffolk police from these roadways without any commitment from the State to use Troopers to fill the void would be irresponsible and leave residents in danger.” Ramos said
Ramos said he will appeal to New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to request state funding to keep the Suffolk County Police’s Highway Patrol fully staffed.