12/09/13 1:39pm
12/09/2013 1:39 PM

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Funding from Suffolk County to provide emergency service responses got a boost recently, as county legislators unanimously passed a measure which will give non-county-based response units a percentage share of county revenues in future budget cycles.

Previously negotiated each budget cycle, the amount coming to Riverhead and Southold-based public safety access points (as well as eight others), as the units are called, will now bring in a certain percentage based on the amount of revenue coming in.

“Whenever we can get something in the county charter that guarantees a fair share for the area, that’s a good thing,” said Legislator Jay Schneiderman, I-Montauk, who sponsored the bill. North Fork Legislator Al Krupski, D-Cutchogue, was one of the bill’s four co-sponsors.

“The way county government is set up, with 16 legislators from up west and only two out east, we don’t want to get into constant budget battles. So this is much better moving forward.”

The legislation comes in the wake of an audit by County Comptroller Joseph Sawicki on the county’s revenue sharing program for non-county PSAPs, which includes four on the South Fork, as well as others in Amityville, Smithtown, Babylon and Northport Village. All non-county PSAPs will receive no less than 20 percent of the revenue tied to funding the services.

PSAPs pick up emergency calls and dispatch to the proper emergency responding unit, whether it’s fire, police or ambulance. Throughout most of the county, the duties are handled by Suffolk County Police Department or Fire Rescue and Emergency Services, though having locally-based units is important in vital situations, Mr. Schneiderman said.

“It’s good, because those people know the area well,” he said. “I’d be nervous about someone in Yaphank picking up a 911 call for someone out of Montauk. So it’s good to have these somewhat decentralized. But it’s expensive to maintain them.”

Previously, Mr. Schneiderman said, funding from the county was tied to making equipment upgrades. The new legislation allows local PSAPs to use the funds for personnel as well moving forward. He said it should provide the non-county stations about $1.6 million in total next year – nearly double its take this year – to be parceled out among the PSAPs as they see fit.

“The idea is to guarantee faster, more accurate response times,” he said. “To give them adequate personnel and equipment to do their duty as best as possible.”

Riverhead Police Chief David Hegermiller said the legislation likely wouldn’t add too much to his budget and considering the cost for the high-tech equipment, it wouldn’t add “anything major.”

“All this stuff is so expensive, but it gives us a little more wiggle room,” said Mr. Hegermiller. “But it beats [the amount of money coming from the county] going down.”

jpinciaro@timesreview.com

 

11/11/13 10:42am
11/11/2013 10:42 AM
PAUL TROMBLEE

PAUL TROMBLEE

A Manorville man who police say is responsible for a string of robberies across Suffolk County – including one at a Hess gas station in Calverton – remains held on $100,000 cash bail and is due back in court on Friday.

Paul Tromblee, 35, was arrested on Saturday and was seen in First District Court in Central Islip on Sunday.

Online court records indicate that Tromblee is being held on $200,000 bond or $100,000 cash bail. Currently, Mr. Tromblee stands charged with eight counts of first-degree robbery and one count of third-degree robbery.

The Hess gas station — located on Edwards Avenue, barely in the jurisdiction of the SCPD – was robbed Oct. 30, after a man pulled a handgun on a store clerk, demanding cash from the register about 7:45 p.m.

Since Oct. 26, gas stations in Calverton, Mastic, North Babylon, St. James, Dix Hills, and Bohemia as well as Jamba Juice in Stony Brook, Kissed by the Sun Tanning in Islip, and CVS Pharmacy in Lake Ronkonkoma were robbed by an armed suspect who demanded cash after pretending to purchase merchandise, police said. Utilizing video surveillance as well as tips, including information received via Crime Stoppers, Pattern Crime Unit detectives identified the suspect as Mr. Tromblee. He was located by detectives while driving on Sunrise Highway in Brookhaven around 3 p.m. Saturday.

Southold Police announced shortly after the Mattituck GameStop robbery that a link between the incident and the others further west were likely evident.

Mohammed Kahn, the clerk at the Calverton Hess, told the News-Review on the night of the incident that the robber walked straight up to the register and demanded cash, first giving him the impression that the act was a trick.

“I was looking to him like he was joking,” Mr. Kahn said at the time.

Detectives are continuing to investigate if Mr. Tromblee is responsible for similar incidents that occurred recently. Anyone with information about these incidents is asked to call anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS. Police said all calls will remain confidential.

jpinciaro@timesreview.com

11/10/13 12:44pm
11/10/2013 12:44 PM
SURVEILLANCE PHOTO | Suffolk police said Paul Tromblee of Manorville has been identified as the man in this surveillance photo. He is charged with nine counts of armed robbery.

SURVEILLANCE PHOTO | Suffolk police said Paul Tromblee of Manorville has been identified as the man in this surveillance photo. He is charged with nine counts of armed robbery.

A Manorville man was arrested Saturday in connection with the armed robbery of the Hess gas station on Edwards Avenue in Calverton and at least eight other incidents, Suffolk County police said.

PAUL TROMBLEE

PAUL TROMBLEE

Paul Tromblee, 35, may still face charges in relation to other armed robberies in the county, police said. Southold Town Police said last week that the suspect in the other area robberies may have been responsible for the armed robbery of the GameStop store in Mattituck last Tuesday, though Mr. Tromblee has not yet been charged in connection with that incident.

Det. Lt. Edward Reilly of the Suffolk County Police Department said Sunday that detectives are working with Southold police, who he said still believe Mr. Tromblee is responsible for the Mattituck robbery.

Currently, Mr. Tromblee stands charged with eight counts of first-degree robbery and one count of third-degree robbery. He is scheduled to be arraigned at First District Court in Central Islip Sunday, Suffolk police said.

Since Oct. 26, gas stations in Calverton, Mastic, North Babylon, St. James, Dix Hills, and Bohemia as well as Jamba Juice in Stony Brook, Kissed by the Sun Tanning in Islip, and CVS Pharmacy in Lake Ronkonkoma were robbed by an armed suspect who demanded cash after pretending to purchase merchandise, police said. Utilizing video surveillance as well as tips, including information received via Crime Stoppers, Pattern Crime Unit detectives identified the suspect as Mr. Tromblee. He was located by detectives while driving on Sunrise Highway in Brookhaven around 3 p.m. Saturday.

The Hess gas station — barely in the jurisdiction of the SCPD – was robbed Oct. 30, after a man pulled a handgun on a store clerk, demanding cash from the register about 7:45 p.m.

Mohammed Kahn, the clerk at the Calverton Hess, told the News-Review on the night of the incident that the robber walked straight up to the register and demanded cash, first giving him the impression that the act was a trick.

“I was looking to him like he was joking,” Mr. Kahn said at the time.

Detectives are continuing to investigate if Mr. Tromblee is responsible for similar incidents that occurred recently. Anyone with information about these incidents is asked to call anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS. Police said all calls will remain confidential.

gparpan@timesreview.com

10/02/13 5:30pm
10/02/2013 5:30 PM
PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO |

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Police said they found nearly 1,700 marijuana plants worth $3.8 million on this property on Osborn Avenue.

A Riverhead man is being held in jail for his alleged role in running a multi-million dollar marijuana operation out of his Osborn Avenue home, according to a news report and court sources.

Law enforcement officials with the Internal Revenue Services Criminal Investigation unit and Suffolk County police raided the house of 70-year-old Edward Dispirito Tuesday, according to an article in Newsday.

Officers found 1,689 marijuana plants worth $3.8 million at the property, the article states. Mr. Dispirito is also alleged to have tapped into Long Island Power Authority lines to steal $275,000 worth of electricity.

Mr. Dispirito and Seaford resident James Ford, 55, were arrested and charged with conspiracy to distribute marijuana, the report states.

Both men appeared before Magistrate Judge Kathleen Tomlinson at the U.S. District Court in Central Islip Tuesday, according to a court source.

Mr. Ford was released on $450,000 bail secured using his house and help from his sister, the source said. Mr. Dispirito will go before a magistrate on Friday for his bail hearing.

No one answered the door at Mr. Dispirito’s two-story residence in Riverhead Tuesday morning. Court documents related to the case were not available to be reviewed online or in-person due to the federal government shutdown.

psquire@timesreview.com

02/05/13 10:15am
02/05/2013 10:15 AM
BETH YOUNG PHOTO | Police Chief James Burke (right) and Parents for Megan's Law director Laura Ahearn (left) before the public safety committee this morning.

BETH YOUNG PHOTO | Police Chief James Burke (right) and Parents for Megan’s Law director Laura Ahearn (left) before the public safety committee this morning.

The 38 homeless sex offenders in Suffolk County who are currently living in construction trailers in Riverside and Westhampton would be spread out, one per shelter, at county-run shelters throughout the county and would be monitored more closely by county police.

That’s if the plan, crafted by the Suffolk County Police Department and the Parents for Megan’s Law advocacy group, is approved by the county Legislature today.

Police Chief James Burke and Parents for Megan’s Law director Laura Ahearn pitched the plan to the Legislature’s public safety Committee in Hauppauge last Thursday morning.

Chief Burke assured the committee that the sex offenders would not be housed in shelters that serve families.

“That is true and that is for the record,” said Chief Burke, when asked by committee members for assurance the offenders would not have contact with families.

The “terrible” policy of clustering sex offenders together must end, the chief insisted.

“Let’s face it. If I took 20 bank robbers and put them under the same roof, at the end of the week, what would I come up with?” he said. “Twenty better bank robbers.”

Chief Burke told the committee that the department’s intelligence database will be updated to include information on the activities of the more than 1,000 sex offenders throughout the county, which can be cross-referenced and easily searched by officers in the field.

Officers will check in with the homeless sex offenders each night to ensure that they are staying where they are assigned, he said.

“They’re gonna know that we know where they are,” he said.

Chief Burke said the department expects costs of the new program to be significantly less than the $4 million the county is currently spending to house the sex offenders on the East End, since the department will be utilizing police personnel who are already in the field.

Ms. Ahearn unveiled her group’s new eight-point plan, which includes hiring two teams of retired police officers to verify addresses of [non-homeless] sex offenders and verify the work addresses of Level 3 sex offenders. Offenders at lower levels are not required to report their work addresses to police.

She said 60 percent of Level 3 offenders don’t currently report their work addresses, even though they are required to by law.

Enforceability in the five East End towns, which all have their own police departments, would depend on local police chiefs signing on to the county’s plan, said Chief Burke.

He said the county’s resources and intelligence would be made available to any other police department that signs on to the plan.

“I think right now, this is the better way to go at this time,” said Public Safety Committee chairwoman Kate Browning of the plan. “We need to make sure that we’re doing right by our communities. I definitely think this is going to be a much stronger effort than the CHI shelters.”

byoung@timesreview.com