Walter fighting state police plans to ‘shut doors’ in Riverside

The state police barracks in Riverside. (Credit: News-Review)
The state police barracks in Riverside. (Credit: News-Review)

Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter is hoping to stave off what he says are impending plans by the state police to pull a desk officer from its Riverside barracks.

Mr. Walter sent a letter to Senator Ken LaValle (R-Port Jefferson) dated March 4 asking for the senator’s help to keep the barracks at 234 Riverleigh Avenue, near the Route 25 traffic circle, open to walk-in complaints and people who need assistance.

“The Town of Southampton granted this property to the State of New York to allow for a police presence in an area they are trying to revitalize,” Mr. Walter wrote the senator. “Their efforts to improve that area is a direct link to our revitalization efforts in downtown Riverhead.”

Downtown Riverhead starts at neighboring Peconic Avenue, just a few hundred yards from the barracks.

Although Mr. LaValle couldn’t be immediately reached for comment, Mr. Walter said the senator was instrumental in getting the station moved from an isolated stretch of Route 24 to the east, near Sears Bellows State Park in the Red Creek area, to the traffic circle.R0320_Terms_BE_C.jpg

“That’s a travesty of justice that they would try to shut the doors to the police,” Mr. Walter said Friday. “The whole purpose of moving it from the desolate location at the end of Flanders Road was to put it in an area that needed more police protection.”

“This is public safety,” he continued. “If you want to cut government, fine, follow my lead, but you don’t cut public safety.”

A state police spokesman did not immediately respond to phone calls seeking comment.

Mr. Walter, also a Republican, is asking Mr. LaValle for “any help you could offer in keeping this valuable resource available to the residents,” the letter reads.

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Caption: Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter