RIVERSIDE - Citing increasing crime, Riverside residents and local officials are calling for the local state police barracks to remain fully staffed in the face of possible cutbacks.
Staffing changes at the state police barracks in Riverside mean that troopers will be no longer stationed at the front desk or used as dispatchers. At certain times of the day, the building may be completely unstaffed, and during those times, a call box needs to be used to notify a Farmingdale dispatcher.
Vincent Taldone, a local civic leader, says the area has seen an uptick in crime, including shootouts in the streets, home invasions and more than 100 vehicle break-ins.
But in a letter to the elected officials, the superintendent of state police defended the plan, saying, "It is simply an ineffective use of personnel to allow them to sit idly at a quiet desk."
Gov. Andrew Cuomo will propose his state budget next month, and state legislators from the area say they will fight to keep the barracks fully funded. State Assemblyman Fred Thiele was one of about a dozen elected officials who vowed to fight the plan.
"This is one of those cases where we're not going to take 'no' for an answer," Thiele says.
Thiele says he and his colleagues are going to propose that the budget include funding for at least one more class of state troopers.