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Jun 16, 2010 12:16 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Sagaponack sticks with the Southampton Town Police Department for now

Jun 16, 2010 12:16 PM

The Southampton Town Police Department will continue patrolling the streets of Sagaponack Village, at least until the fall, Sagaponack officials said this week.

Village Mayor Donald Louchheim said on Monday that Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst and Town Police Chief James Overton both recently agreed to give the village “better” police coverage. Mr. Louchheim said that he, in turn, told them that the village would be exploring other options for police service, but would not make any new commitments before the fall.

Sagaponack could, conceivably, hire the Sag Harbor Village, East Hampton Town or East Hampton Village police departments to provide police services, or create its own department or constabulary.

Last month, the Village Board complained about the rising cost of Town Police services and lack of a corresponding increase in service. The rising costs are being caused by an increase in property assessments in the small, but wealthy municipality.

Sagaponack’s assessments increased, on average, by about 22 percent this year. On the tax bill for next year, the village will pay $2.1 million for police services from the Town Police Department. That figure represents approximately 11 percent of the $19 million portion of the police department budget funded through taxes townwide.

The village is currently included in a police sector with Bridgehampton, Police Captain Anthony Tenaglia has said.

“I said we would like to be our own sector,” Mr. Louchheim said about the meeting he had with Ms. Throne-Holst and Chief Overton. “They just nodded.”

Sagaponack Village Clerk Rosemarie Winchell noted that the municipality will now also have its own police liaison, Officer Melissa Elliston. Ms. Winchell said that Ms. Elliston is expected to stop by the village regularly to make sure “everything is copacetic.”

During the Village Board’s work session on Monday, Trustee Joy Sieger, who is the village liaison to the police department, said that the activity reports the police department files for Sagaponack already shows an uptick in service, though that could just be because it’s summertime.

Mr. Louchheim said he visited the Village of West Hampton Dunes, located on the barrier island west of Westhampton Beach, which has a constabulary of two men who patrol the village 24 hours a day. The arrangement costs the village $450,000, he said.

“It’s a special situation,” he said. “I’m not sure we could replicate it.”

With the increased police presence in the village, Mr. Louchheim warned the board and the audience that there could be more speeding tickets issued.

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