Town to install more surveillance cameras in key areas

Riverhead Town is set to install more surveillance cameras in areas including downtown, the Peconic riverfront and other locations, according to Police Chief David Hegermiller, who addressed the issue at a Town Board work session on May 4. 

For many years, local officials have been trying to bring more surveillance cameras to town, but the cost has been a deterrent.

“The good news is, we’re working on an investigation downtown, where the cameras have become handy,” Chief Hegermiller said. 

Councilman Tim Hubbard said in an interview last Thursday that the camera installations are “close to being completed,” and confirmed that the new surveillance capability recently helped lead to the arrest of two suspects in an attempted armed robbery. 

The town has already installed the cameras on Railroad Avenue, in Grangebel Park and at the Riverhead Senior Center in Aquebogue, the chief said. 

He cautioned that the cameras are not a one-time cost and indicated that there will be related recurring expenses. 

 As for the cameras’ specific locations, Mr. Hubbard said, “We don’t want to really say where they are. Anybody who knows what they are looking for can figure it out, but just the idea that it’s already helped in an arrest is tremendous.” Other town officials shed slightly more light on some of the cameras’ whereabouts. .

During the work session, Supervisor Yvette Aguiar referred to the area behind the laundromat on West Main Street “is a very critical location. There’s a lot of stuff happening there.”

She also said the parking lot behind Digger’s “is another critical location.” 

“There was money we originally received in order to get it started and that’s when we said, ‘OK, let’s put it into phases,’ because we’re going to have to get more money to complete it,” Mr. Hubbard recalled. 

He said additional money later became available for the cameras. 

In 2019, the town acquired $124,413 in Community Development Block Grants funding to install new surveillance cameras. 

Then last year, the town received $200,000 more for cameras through the federal American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. 

The cameras can record and stream video in real time to the Riverhead Police Department. 

Councilman Bob Kern said a lot of illegal dumping takes place in some areas of Riverhead and he hopes the surveillance cameras can help identify the culprits.