Sponsored by the South Huntington-Huntington Station Civic Association, the forum was packed with dozens of people waiting to ask the commissioner questions.
The two-hour-long event Thursday began with Hart saying that by holding public forums like this offer a “tremendous opportunity to discuss issues within the community.”
Drunk drivers on New York Avenue, the support of community involvement between officers and residents through county-sponsored events, and the latest statistics on SCPD recruitment, with the next police exam happening on June 15, were among the questions that were raised.
Also, the deployment of school resource officers in the South Huntington and Huntington school districts came under discussion. A Latino resident suggested that the Second Precinct should consider hiring more community residents to work with them to take down gangs and be the ears and eyes of the community.
“What I’m really proud of is that we have the highest number in minority SCPD recruitment,” Hart added and saying that it’s the highest it has ever been. “We only have this opportunity once in four years, so let’s make the most of it.”
Among the attendees was a group of Spanish-speaking residents who voiced concerns over driver’s licenses for undocumented residents, as well as asking the department to hire more Spanish-speaking officers and employees who can understand different dialects of the language.
Hart said the department has many officers who speak several different languages, including various dialects of Spanish, Portuguese, Korean and Polish.
“You have here in Suffolk County a group that wants to connect with its community,” Hart said.
A Narcan training demonstration was held after the meeting where attendees were taught what to do in case of an overdose and how to administer the drug.
“We want to thank the Suffolk County Police Department, as well as Commissioner Geraldine Hart for taking the time to talk to the civic association,” Sam Bifulco, president and found of the association, said. “It’s so important for our community to come together and discuss the crucial issues we face here. Tonight was a great success and very productive.”
Inspector William Scrima, commander of the Second Precinct, added that community involvement, like Thursday’s meeting, benefit everyone involved.
“It’s always important to meet with the community,” he said. “The police department benefits and the community benefits.”