A plan to lock the front door at the Riverside state police barracks and move the Riverside dispatcher job to Farmingdale has been criticized as an abandonment of an area that government already overlooks.
But the consolidation actually seems to be a smart way to cut costs while reducing services only minimally — if at all.
It’s typically easier to create a worst-case scenario about bad things that could happen than to look at the positives. So perhaps it isn’t so surprising that the most vocal opposition to the plan has come from the state police union, which has put forward doomsday scenarios about residents in need of medical assistance being left unaided outside the building.
Concerns about a loss of physical police presence have been voiced, even though dispatchers are not running community patrols. And the barracks is not closing. State police officers will continue to work from the Riverside location and run their regular routes, and an officer on site will respond to citizens at the front door.
There is no doubt that the Riverside area has historically been more often overlooked than others. And it’s been difficult to get to the bottom of this very quiet plan to move a dispatcher’s position to the other end of the county. Rumors about this change have been swirling since the spring. But state officials said that part of the problem was simply that no civil servants wanted the dispatcher job, which has temporarily gone to a state police officer.
Locals should remain vigilant that police patrols in the area do not diminish once this plan is implemented. But the officer who’d otherwise be working the front desk in Riverside will do the community much more good out on the streets.