Are the inmates running the police department?
That’s what you might have thought if you stopped by the Southampton Town Police Department this week and saw guys in orange jumpsuits filling the hallways.
But the inmates are in fact painting the police department.
About a dozen inmates from the Suffolk County Correctional Facility in Riverside were at work at police headquarters in Hampton Bays this week as part of the Sheriff’s Labor Assistance Program (SLAP), according to Police Chief William Wilson.
“This is something I spoke to Sheriff (Vincent) DeMarco about months ago,” Chief Wilson said. “Getting help doing some cosmetic work in and around the Southampton Town Police Department.”
The program provides both skilled and unskilled laborers to municipalities and certain not-for-profit organizations, Chief Wilson said.
“It’s a two-tiered program,” he said. “It gives low-risk, minor-offense inmates the chance to go out and practice their skills, because there is skilled labor within the inmate population. And along with that, they’ll take unskilled labor and combine them with the skilled labor as a way to provide career training for them in hopes that when they are released, they will find a job.”
The SLAP program cleaned the area around the Riverhead train station two years ago. At the time, Sheriff DeMarco told the News-Review that the inmates in the program do work inside the jail and outside, performing jobs ranging from carpentry to painting to landscaping.
The inmates painted the detective offices in the basement of the police department last week and are painting the upstairs walls and offices this week, Chief Wilson said. Next week, they will be doing some cleaning and “aesthetic upgrades” to the holding cells at the police department, he said.
“We’re grateful to the sheriff’s department,” the chief said. “This facility is 30-plus-years-old and it probably hasn’t received the attention that it should, just because the town work force is very busy. This is a way for us to have some upgrades done at no expense to the taxpayers and take advantage of the assistance that the sheriff’s department was offering us.”