Southampton Town Police have beefed up patrols in the Flanders, Riverside and Northampton areas, leading to about 100 arrests since January by the department’s community response unit, according to Southampton Town police.
Department Chief Robert Pearce spoke at the Bay View Pines Civic and Taxpayers Association meeting Wednesday evening along with Captain Bill Hulse of the New York State Police. They discussed how the departments have responded to residents’ concerns over crime following a string of more than 60 car break-ins and other incidents in recent months.
Mr. Pearce said the department’s community response unit, which is run by Lieutenant Todd Spencer, consists of two patrol units with one sergeant and three officers. The units operate on opposite schedules to ensure a constant presence in the area, Mr. Spencer said at the meeting.
The unit is responsible for patrolling all of Southampton Town, but spends about 50 percent of the time in the Flanders, Riverside and Northampton area, Mr. Spencer said. The unit has totaled about 150 arrests townwide since January, and 70-75 percent of those were in that area, he said.
“It is working out well,” Chief Pearce said. “It’s working better than I anticipated … this is an important area.”
At one point, he asked the audience whether they wanted the police presence dialed back since officers were now “everywhere.”
In unison, the roughly 15 members in the audience said no. The community members in attendance all agreed that they’ve seen positive changes in their neighborhoods under the recent changes.
Capt. Hulse said the recent change at the Riverside Barracks, such as the front desk going unmanned, have been an improvement.
“I know the press and the community was a little upset over what changes were happening at the state police barracks,” he said. “As from a supervisors point of view, kicking the desk guy out was the best thing that ever happened because there’s one more guy on the road.”
He said the door to the barracks is almost always unlocked with someone is available to assist people who may call or visit. He said about three nights a week, from midnight to 5 a.m., the station might not be manned.
There are 27 troopers at the barracks — a number Capt. Hulse said is higher than in past years — who are constantly working with Southampton officers to ensure the Flanders, Riverside and Northampton area remains safe.
Southampton Town Councilman John Bouvier said he wanted to assure the community that Town Hall takes what’s happening in the area seriously.
“We’re working really well together, and we have more to do, but it’s a total resource and we’re all together in this.”
Photo Caption: Southampton Town Police Chief Robert Pearce (center) speaks about the changes to police patrol in Flanders, Riverside and Northampton on Wednesday. He was joined by Lieutenant Todd Spencer of Southampton Town Police (left) and Captain Bill Hulse of the New York State Police Department (right). (Credit: Nicole Smith)