Tuesday, 21 December 2010 05:38

increase on herion arrest in suffolk county

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February 7, 2011

Affordable Bails of New York  with offices in Suffolk county located in Central  Islip provides you with this interesting article about 

the increase in Heroin usage in Suffolk County that have increased the number of arrests in Central Islip and the bail bonds that are bring set.

 

In September Shelter Island heroin arrests were posted on the Suffolk County Drug Map. In November they had vanished from the online index of heroin busts. The local data is posted once again but its temporary disappearance highlights the logistical and jurisdictional problems that keep this drug abuse awareness tool from working for the East End.

“It does make me feel bad that the East End looks like nothing is happening,” said Gary Quinn, commissioner of the Suffolk County Information Technology (IT) Department. His department posts and maintains all of the county’s web pages, including the drug map that county legislators established in 2008 to “provide parents, schools and the wider community with a valuable resource to help prevent our county’s youth from falling prey to this deadly drug.”

Modeled after a Nassau County law named for 18-year-old Natalie Ciappa of Massapequa, who died of a heroin overdose, Suffolk’s version of Natalie’s Law directed the Suffolk County Police Department (SCPD) and the information technology department to create a publicly accessible map showing arrest sites for the sale or possession of heroin “within Suffolk County.” Initially, the map displayed only arrests within the Suffolk County Police District.

Receiving and processing data from the towns outside the county police district are proving to be a problem.

“Our efforts are different than in Nassau,” Mr. Quinn said, due to heroin arrests being made by the SCPD, by town and village police departments outside the SCPD and by the East End Drug Task Force, a multi-jurisdictional group operating under the authority of Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota.

The heroin arrest data that has been posted on the map since it went online in 2009 — the arrest location, date, charge and age of the offender — is extracted directly from the SCPD’s arrest data base, according to Mr. Quinn. The county IT department does not have access to the arrest systems of the towns and villages that lie outside the SCPD.

Most heroin arrests in eastern Suffolk are made by the East End Drug Task Force. No data is posted for the 20 arrests made last May in a major task force bust, in which hundreds of bags of heroin were confiscated from homes in Southampton, Calverton, Riverhead, Mattituck and Greenport, one less than 500 feet from the Porters’ football field.

Those cases are not processed by the local departments but by the District Attorney’s office and are not reported on the county drug map.

Mr. Quinn looked into indexing the East End Drug Task Force arrest data, but the actual location of the arrests, a required piece of data under Natalie’s Law, are “not in the case management system,” he said. Instead, the address of the offender is recorded.

When contacted this week, Robert Clifford, communications director of the District Attorney’s office, reiterated the DA’s position that his office has no obligation to submit data for the county drug map.

And despite a request from Suffolk County Police Commissioner Richard Dormer that the town and village police jurisdictions within the county but outside of the SCPD voluntarily report heroin arrests, only a handful of arrests from Shelter Island, Riverhead and Southampton have been posted on the map.

“That’s where we have a problem,” Mr. Quinn said. The county “doesn’t  want to put a mandate on East End towns” to hire an IT person to create an extract or to enter the data manually.  When the county IT department posted the submissions from East End towns earlier this year, the data was entered incorrectly, Mr. Quinn said. When the map was updated, the East End data disappeared. It has since been restored.

The five East End towns have their own arrest systems and processes, he added. They are “trying to give info if they can, without incurring expenses.” But so far, the IT Department has received “nothing substantial,” he commented.

The problem is “indicative of the many layers of government,” he said, “disparate systems” working on the same problem but not yet able to effect a solution.

“We’re working towards trying to get information so the map represents what’s on the ground,” Mr. Quinn added.

Is the online map being used? The IT chief had no statistics on numbers of page-views or other Internet usage data, but he has received some feedback.

“The police here think it’s interesting, a good measure of activity,” Mr. Quinn said of the SCPD. “But the undercover guy is not fond of it — it points out where the police are operating.”

“I do know people are looking at it,” he added. He has received requests to include arrests for other drug violations on the map.

Mr. Quinn said he would like to see more East End police submit heroin arrest data and encourages them to contact the county’s Information Technology Department. 

Last modified on Tuesday, 15 March 2011 17:39
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