By Marissa Maier
Based on figures from the past four summers, the Sag Harbor Village Police are showing a record number of arrests for this summer season. From June through September, as of Monday, September 13, village police made 108 arrests, compared to 74 in 2009, 80 in 2008, and 79 in 2007, noted Sag Harbor Police Chief Tom Fabiano in an interview.
“We had a good summer. I credit the officers that work here for doing a good job in being productive and proactive,” Chief Fabiano remarked.
When asked what’s behind the higher numbers, Detective Jeffrey Proctor believed that it isn’t an exact science in crediting one reason for the increase in arrests. He noted that the training and stationing of officers is the same this summer as prior years. But Detective Proctor did point out three factors which he thinks contributed to this record season: the level of camaraderie amongst the police officers, an increase in the summer population and the police department’s staff levels.
During his patrols, Detective Proctor said he noticed more people walking the streets and driving around Sag Harbor this summer compared to last.
“I think most [people] aren’t paying for that extravagant vacation. They are taking a day vacation. They spend a day or two here,” Detective Proctor noted.
Chief Fabiano added that last summer the police department had one vacancy, which Detective Proctor said lessened the department’s capacity to make arrests. The police department now employs 12 full-time officers and one part-time officer (one officer is currently on disability leave.)
“We are just about where we want to be with staffing. The last couple of years were a little thin as far as bodies,” Detective Proctor said. “More police presence contributes to a lot more arrests.”
Chief Fabiano pointed out that during busy weekends or holidays, the police department will staff four to five officers during one shift.
In the 11 years he has been a member of the village police force, Detective Proctor said the cooperation and camaraderie amongst the staff is at an all time high.
“When you see one cop that does the right thing, it has a snowball effect. From the chief down everyone has a good attitude,” Detective Proctor remarked. “Everyone wants that cop of the year award. Everyone is looking to do their part.”
He was careful to point out that the officers aren’t receiving incentives for this good work, nor is there an instituted quota for arrests.
Chief Fabiano pointed out that the arrest figures for this year were extremely high, where as previous summers show an average. He noted that the majority of arrests were for vehicle and traffic violations, like driving through a stop sign or operating a car with a suspended registration, and driving while intoxicated offenses.
According to the police department records, for the summer of 2010, the police force made 17 arrests in June, 33 arrests in July, 49 arrests in August, and, so far, nine arrests in September. In 2009, 12 people were arrested in June, 20 were arrested in July, 25 people were arrested in August, and 17 people were arrested in September. The numbers are similar for 2008 and 2009. In 2008, the police department arrested 16 individuals in June, 17 in July, 28 in August, and 19 in September. The previous year, 2007, police logged 14 arrests in June, 22 arrests in July, 23 arrests in August and 20 arrests in September.
Chief Fabiano also pointed out that driving while intoxicated arrests appeared to be on the rise this summer compared to the season in 2009. Over the past four months, the village police department has made 28 driving while intoxicated arrests, which is a misdemeanor crime.
“We are at the 13th of September and we already have five DWI [driving while intoxicated] arrests,” Chief Fabiano noted. The bulk of these arrests were made in July with 10, while nine such offenses were recorded in August. In June, four driving while intoxicated crimes were reported by police.
Last summer, the recorded instances of this particular crime were significantly lower. Only one driving while intoxicated arrest was made in June. In July and August, five individuals were put into police custody. By September, three out of 17 total arrests were for driving while intoxicated.
The most notorious crime of the season, Detective Proctor said, was the arrest of Jamie Llanos, a 32-year-old Sag Harbor resident, at the end of August. Llanos was allegedly caught carrying 12.5 grams of cocaine and selling the drug in half gram clear envelopes at the corner of Bay and Main streets in front of the Corner Bar.
Of the future of the village police department, Detective Proctor noted that the force is now a “well oiled machine.”