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Sound Bites: Suffolk County Police launch hate crimes hotline

Suffolk County Police
Spencer Platt
Getty Images
Suffolk County Police

Good morning. Suffolk County Police launched a new hate crimes hotline. County Executive Steve Bellone said the hotline will be available for victims of possible hate crimes and for tips from anonymous callers. Detectives will use the hotline to better identify crime patterns and determine which areas need hate crime education or assistance the most. 

Police across Long Island have recently stepped up patrols and monitored threats against Muslim, Jewish and LGBTQ communities. Suffolk County Police reported nearly 500 incidents investigated by the department’s hate crimes unit in 2020.

Here’s a bite-sized look at what else we are hearing:

On Long Island, 21 defendants face nearly 200 counts of illegal narcotics and gun charges. According to an unsealed indictment from the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office, some of the defendants are connected to the “9-Trey Bloods” street gang. Due to their drug trafficking, over 350 young people died of fentanyl use last year alone. Investigators recovered fentanyl and heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine, and other controlled substances.

A state facility opened in New York to store evidence kits from sexual assaults — not released to law enforcement. The facility will provide survivors with medical care, the ability to consent to forensic evidence collection and time to decide if they want to file a police report. Survivors will also be notified if their kits are transferred and can track them to local hospitals. Hospital staff on Long Island are able to receive the training in May.

A Brooklyn manufacturer has relocated its headquarters to Hamden, Connecticut. FullStack Modular is investing $8-12 million in the state to create at least 100 jobs, introduce top-of-the-line technology and construct new housing for state residents.

The PFC Joseph P. Dwyer Peer Support Program Act was reintroduced by Rep. Nick LaLota (R-NY). The bill would nationalize the peer-to-peer veteran support program to give veterans nationwide better access to care for psychological or emotional issues. First launched in Suffolk County in 2012, the program has helped hundreds of veterans transition back into civilian life.

A Sacred Heart University nursing student saved a man in cardiac arrest by using CPR at Kennedy Airport in New York. The night before, Natalie Davies submitted a paper highlighting the importance of training the public in CPR. Davies will graduate on May 14 to become a critical care registered nurse in the Yale New Haven Hospital Emergency Department.

Thirty Bridgeport Police officers plan to retire — worsening the city department’s staffing shortage. An additional 59 officers will become eligible to retire. According to Hearst Connecticut Media, the department has struggled to maintain officer staffing since 2017. The department budgets for around 400 officers. Now the department has a population as low as 284.

The Metropolitan Transport Authority’s contactless fare payment system will be restructured. The new OMNY fare system is running four years behind schedule on the Long Island Rail Road. Introduced in 2019, OMNY allows riders to simply tap their smartphones, contactless credit or debit cards on OMNY readers to pay fares at subway turnstiles, AutoGates and onboard buses. The $772 million plan to implement OMNY is pushed back to 2025 in order for more riders to begin utilizing digital wallets.

Eric Warner is a news fellow at WSHU.