RIVERHEAD - The arrest of former Suffolk Police Chief James Burke has the Republican-led Legislature demanding federal oversight over the department.
As News 12 has reported, Burke was arrested last Wednesday on charges of beating Christopher Loeb, of Smithtown, who stole a bag from Burke's department-issued SUV three years ago.
Republican members say there is no other choice but to have the feds monitor the department after Burke's federal indictment.
"It took the United States attorney, not the Suffolk district attorney, not the county executive, not the police commissioner, to uncover this," says Legislator Kevin McCaffrey.
As part of the oversight of the Suffolk County Police Department, the Republican legislators say they want the federal monitor to look into the appointment of Tim Sini as the next police commissioner. They call it nothing but a political move.
Legislator Robert Trotta also faulted Bellone for picking Burke to be chief back in 2012. Trotta says Bellone did that despite a 1995 internal affairs report that found Burke lost his police-issued service weapon twice and had a sexual relationship with a convicted felon.
Democratic Presiding Officer Duwayne Gregory called the proposal a "severe overreaction."
A spokesman for Bellone issued a statement saying the county executive was not aware of the internal affairs report. He also said Burke had come “highly recommended from his superiors" in the district attorney’s office, where he worked as an investigator.