The Suffolk County Alliance of Chambers announced the donation of two bicycles to the Suffolk County Police Department in order to better patrol heavily-trafficked areas, particularly downtown areas like Main Street in Patchogue.
“We are here because of public safety support in our downtowns, in our homes, in our schools [and] in our neighborhoods,” said Bob Fonti, a co-chair of the alliance. “We are very fortunate to have a great police force, and we want to do something beneficial not only for our chamber members but for our community.”
The two bicycles together cost the alliance $1,400. Several elected officials and members of SCPD, including commissioner Geraldine Hart, attended the event. Hart thanked the alliance for its donation and its understanding that high foot-traffic areas can require bicycles.
Patchogue Village mayor Paul Pontieri said that the utilization of the bicycles in the village would make a “tremendous difference.” Emphasizing that the 5th Precinct is located within the village, Pontieri said SCPD is a primary partner of the Village of Patchogue.
Greater Patchogue Chamber of Commerce president David Kennedy echoed Hart’s focus here, directing attention for the new patrol method’s potential during an event like Alive After Five.
“We have packed our police department heavily here because I put on a lot of events here, mostly Alive After Five, and we could not do it if we did not have the support of our Suffolk County Police Department,” Kennedy said.
Of course, Alive After Five has not continued through 2020 due to the pandemic. But when the shutdown of the economy kicked in, weekly meetings commenced between the alliance and SCPD officials like Hart.
Hart pointed to the general purpose of community policing.
“What it means is identifying problems and solving them together,” Hart said. “That is no more indicative and clear than it was in 2020 when we were faced with COVID-19 and the shutdown.”
Regarding the donated bikes, Suffolk County Presiding Officer and Legis. Rob Calarco mentioned the help these units can bring in terms of public safety during Alive After Five, too. He also pointed out how the bicycles can be useful on a Friday or Saturday night here on Main Street.
“It is important to have that public safety presence here,” Calarco said. “The Village's public safety department does a great job, but they need augmentation from our police officers. Being able to have these bicycles will really allow them to do that in a more effective fashion.”