New Suffolk Police Commissioner Rodney Harrison took questions from Huntington residents Monday evening as he introduced himself over Zoom and described plans he has for the Suffolk County Police Department.
Among the issues Harrison and community residents discussed were transparency, departmental diversity and hiring, drugs, hate crimes, school crossing guards, human trafficking and departmental outreach to the community,
Among the political officials who joined the call were State Assembly members Steve Stern and Keith Brown, Suffolk County Legislators Manuel Esteban and Tom Donnelly, Town Supervisor Ed Smyth and Town Councilman Dave Bennardo.
When Harrison said the department needed to find more residents to work as school crossing guards to allow police officers to other duties, Smyth said he would work on finding candidates. Harrison also said that civilian receptionists with Spanish language skills would be added to precinct stationhouses to make it easier for people to approach police to report crimes. He also said he wants to transfer the handling of investigations of fatal drug overdoses to narcotics offices and out of the homicide unit to ease the that unit’s workload.
Harrison also repeatedly praised the community and police work to make a gift giveaway work on Three Kings Day, saying he had not seen anything similar in his years with the New York Police Department.
Many residents, including several officials, praised Inspector William Scrima, commander of the Second Precinct, for his work with the community.