Sini: MS-13 greatest public safety issue in Suffolk

Suffolk Police Commissioner Tim Sini was grilled Thursday by county lawmakers on issues including the serial knifepoint robber, gang murders and the growing opiod epidemic.

During his three hours of testimony, Sini admitted that the level of violence in the county is "unprecedented."

He told lawmakers there have been 170 arrests of known MS-13 members since September 2016, and that the police force continues to increase intelligence gathering on the streets.

In a heated moment, Sini accused Republican Legislator Robert Trotta of politicizing gang-related murders.

"You are politicizing an issue that should not be politicized," said Sini. "You are absolutely politicizing murders of children."

The commissioner said the county will be getting help from the state. Sini said additional patrols are being set up by state police in wooded areas and park lands, especially in Brentwood and Central Islip.

"We're sharing intelligence with New York State Police so they can do targeted patrols of areas that may attract MS-13 gang members," the commissioner said.

Legislator Monica Martinez, whose district includes Brentwood, asked Sini if additional officers could be put into schools as "school resources officers." Right now, there's one officer allotted for the 20,000 students in the Brentwood district.

Sini and the legislators also discussed ways to go after more funding for gang prevention programs, and putting more money into outreach programs in the Latino community.

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