Suffolk County in New York hosts a total of 10 towns. Home to a wide network of family farms and a big agricultural contributor to NYC in general, Suffolk County is located to the South East, covering parts of Long Island. At its easternmost end, Suffolk County is divided into the North and South Forks. Unique for being enveloped on 3 sides by water, the county has a coastline of 980 miles. Various universities and college in both the private and public sector are the prime attraction in the county, including the Stony Brook University and the Route 110 Corridor. In addition to Riverhead, which is the county seat, the 10 towns that come under Suffolk County are:
- East Hampton
- Shelter Island
The county has a total population of 1,493,350 people, and continues to grow in diversity as the Suffolk Police plans to include more recruits from minorities. The department plans to invest $215,000 to market for the inclusion of more Hispanics in the force. According to Steve Ballone, the County Executive; and Geraldine Hart, the Police Commissioner, the campaign began post-Christmas. The department is also making efforts, in conjunction with the Economic Opportunity Council, to include citizens with low incomes. The county’s Economic Opportunity Council proposed to cover the exam fee amounting to $125 to help residents whose incomes lie 125% below the federal poverty level.
Suffolk County Police Department
The Suffolk County Police Department (SCPD) is a local civilian agency established in 1960, and covers 5 out of the 10 towns in the county, them being:
- Identity theft
- Property auctions
- Auxiliary police
- Hate crimes
- Impound section
- Pistol license
- Emergency services
- Citizens Police Academy
- Highway patrol
With its headquarters in 188, Yaphank, NY 11980; the SCPD covers a jurisdiction of 911 square miles, and is located at a distance of 20 miles from NYC. Suffolk County experiences every kind of law enforcement problem characteristic of a metropolis in the States, making the police department a busy one. It houses well over 2,700 sworn officers and more than 600 civilians. A total of 400 School Crossing Guards also make for a big part of the team. At present, Geraldine Hart is the Police Commissioner whereas Stuart Cameron is serving as the Police Chief. The department is vast and covers several units, including aviation and airport operations units.
Established in 1960, the department began on the 1st of January, and had a force of 619 officers. Before the department was established, villages and local towns would take care of the law and order situation with the help of NY State Police. Constables, who were paid by the locals, were largely responsible; bagging bonuses every time they made an arrest. These pre-SCPD constables had no formal training in matters of law enforcement. Their lack of formal police training incapacitated them from handling major crimes and investigations.
Following the Second World War, a wave of suburbanization overtook the country, and there was a sharp rise in the crime rate. At that time, some 33 law enforcement agencies separately operated within the county. Nassau County had already established its consolidated county police force in 1925, and Suffolk County followed suit. In 1958, a county executive was formed, which then held a referendum for the towns to vote if they desired to become part of a consolidated police force. 5 towns—the towns covered by the SCPD as have been aforementioned—joined the unified force. The other 5 towns (Southampton, Easthampton, Shelter Island, Southold, and Riverhead) maintain their own separate police forces and get assistance for specialized services from the SCPD.
The consolidated SCPD has a Detective Bureau, a Central Records Bureau, an Identification Bureau, and a Police Academy that trains new recruits. SCPD has a distinct place in the country’s crime-fighting history, having worked on infamous cases like the Amityville Horror’s. SCPD’s specialized units also served in the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center.
The ranks in SCPD, in the ascending order, are as follows:
- Police Officer or Detective
- Deputy Inspector
- Deputy Chief
- Assistant Chief
- Chief of Division
- Chief of Department
- Police Commissioner
Recruitments, as well as promotion from the ranks of Police Officer or Detective to Captain, depend on civil service exams. Promotions higher up, from the ranks of Deputy Inspector to the Chief, are largely dependent on the Police Commissioner’s discretion.
The SCPD takes new recruits through a civil services exam that is conducted every 4 years. The next exam is scheduled for June 15th, 2019, with registrations having begun in November 2018. The deadline to file for the exam has now passed, having been scheduled for the 3rd of April, 2019. The application procedure consisted of creating an online Civil Service User ID, filling out an e-form with required details, and adding a scheduled exam. SCPD does not require any specific college education or degree or semester credits.
$125 in exam fees, non-refundable, has to be submitted along with the application form. However, there are exceptions here and the fees can be waived in the case that:
- You are a veteran
- You are serving in the auxiliary police
- You are a volunteer CERT member
- You are a member of the local fire district or any local ambulance company
- You are unemployed
- You receive MEDICAID or public assistance
Registrations are being done online. In order to be eligible to sit for the exam, candidates need to be between 19 and 35 years of age at the time of the test. The written exam is made up of several multiple-choice based questions that test grammar, math, problem-solving, logical reasoning, vocabulary, memory, etc. Once the written exam is passed, the candidate will have to appear for a physical abilities exam, a medical exam, and a psychological assessment that might include polygraph and background checks.
Rewards and Benefits
Once the applicants have registered, SCPD calls them to inform them of the location their exam will be conducted in. Once recruited after having passed the exam, successful candidates undergo training in the Police Academy at the Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood. Including a training of 6 months at the academy, candidates have to go through 18 months as their probationary periods. A Suffolk County Police Officer begins the job at a salary of $42,000 per annum. The sum is raised to $111,506 once the employee crosses 12 years in the force.