Cops back up traffic in protest of Levy's patrol move
The Long Island Expressway was backed up Tuesday because of hundreds of Suffolk police officers protesting the removal of the county?s highway police unit from the LIE and Sunrise Highway.
County Executive Steve Levy announced he would put county sheriff?s deputies on the highways last month to save the county money. Since that time, Suffolk officers have been allowed back onto the highways? HOV lanes until December because of stipulations in a state contract. The contract says New York can only reimburse Suffolk for HOV patrols if the patrols are done by county officers.
Levy intends on reworking the deal to include the deputies when the contract is renewed.
Rep. Steve Israel (D-Huntington) and Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) are offering to find federal money to help the county fund the county highway unit. They have also requested a meeting with Levy, the Suffolk County Sheriff Department and the police union to resolve the matter.
Suffolk County highway patrol officers say it?s not just a matter of money, it?s a matter of safety. Some say sheriff?s deputies don?t have the right training or equipment to do the job.
The sheriff's department tells News 12 Long Island the necessary equipment is being installed on its highway cruisers.
Deputy County Executive Ben Zwirn says he questions the timing of the congressmen?s offer to help with Election Day two weeks away.