On Guard and In Focus: A Publication of the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office

Spring 2012 Online: SuffolkSheriff.com (631) 852-2200

A Message from Vincent F. DeMarco, Sheriff
Welcome to the first edition of On Guard and In Focus: A Publication of the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office. This publication is packed with information designed to inform you about current issues in law enforcement, traffic safety and tips to keep you and your family safe. Each issue will introduce new topics In Focus. In this issue, you will find information on the proliferation of gangs in Suffolk County and how Sheriff’s G.R.E.A.T. Program Officers are working in our schools and communities to prevent gang membership among youth. Also in this issue you will find information about a recent study on texting while driving and the Inside this Issue: Sheriff’s Message…... 1 Traffic Safety………. 2 SLAP Update ……… 2 Award Presentation…. 3 The GREAT Program..4 Reentry In Focus……. 5 Historic House Spruced up for Spring ………...6 Vincent F. DeMarco Sheriff John P. Meyerricks Undersheriff Joseph T. Caracappa Undersheriff Michael P. Sharkey Chief of Staff Kerry M. Kneitel Chief Deputy Sheriff Charles Ewald Warden repercussions of this dangerous behavior. Finally, we highlight how our SLAP program has put low-risk inmates to work on public projects in our communities, paving the way for a better future, while easing a financial burden on taxpayers and local non-profit organizations.

Your feedback, questions and suggestions are appreciated. Emails can be sent to me at Suffolk_Sheriff@suffolkcountyny.gov, and don’t forget to visit us online at www.suffolksheriff.com.

Be safe, and enjoy this first issue of On Guard and In Focus. Warm regards,

VINCENT F. DeMARCO Suffolk County Sheriff

On Guard and In Focus


In Focus: Traffic Safety
The U.S. Department of Transportation conducted a study on distracted driving and published their report in December 2011, with noteworthy results. Approximately 2 out of 10 drivers (18%) report they have sent text messages or e-mails while operating a motor vehicle; and half (49%) of those 21 to 24 years old report sending text and emails while driving. In fact, drivers younger than 25 are two to three times more likely than older drivers to read or send text messages or e-mails. The Suffolk County Sheriff's Office plays a significant role in maintaining safety on our highways; Sheriff's deputies are out in force all year long patrolling the Long Island Expressway and Sunrise Highway. It is illegal to text while driving in New York State, and yet many drivers continue to engage in this risky behavior. A violation comes with a fine of up to $150 and 3 points points on a license. It is a primary offense; and an officer will stop you if you are observed using a handheld device while driving. When drivers text, there is a 23 times greater risk of a collision than when not texting. Driver inattention is a primary contributing factor to crashes and near crashes. Looking away for two or more seconds will double the risk of a crash or near crash. “So the next time your phone rings or beeps while on the road, ask yourself if a text or call is worth your life, your friend’s life or anyone else’s,” stated Sheriff DeMarco.

In Focus: The SLAP Program
The Sheriff’s Labor Assistance Program (SLAP) permits low-risk incarcerated individuals the opportunity to enhance their skills, or learn new ones, while improving public areas. Since the program was expanded by Suffolk County Sheriff Vincent F. DeMarco in 2006, inmates have contributed hundreds of hours of labor to public projects throughout the county. During the months of December 2011 and January 2012, inmates from the Suffolk County Correctional Facility in
Sheriff DeMarco, Commander Fred Overton and Sydney Bye

Riverhead assisted the members of the American Legion Hall in East Hampton with a variety of special projects, such as painting, roof repair, and landscaping. “SLAP benefits the public and the inmates performing the labor. For some inmates, this vocational experience breaks a cycle of unemployment and criminal behaviors--allowing them to secure and keep meaningful employment after release,” stated Sheriff DeMarco.

On Guard and In Focus

Page 3 Q. How do gangs recruit? A. Officer Oliver: Organized gangs actually have recruiters who will go out into the schools and to community events, such as basketball games, and recruit members. Kids as young as 12 to 13 years old are commonly targeted by these gang recruiters, and it often begins in middle schools. Q. What can school officials do to fight the problems of gang membership in their schools? A. Officer Oliver: The best thing that school officials can do is not ignore the problem and become educated on gang symbols and lingo so they can easily recognize gang activity in their school districts. School officials, employees and teachers should all be familiar with the signs, symbols and lingo used by gangs. School officials also need to keep the lines of communication open with law enforcement, and especially school resource officers assigned to each district by the local police department. When signs of gangs are present, law enforcement should be made aware at the outset. Q. How does the G.R.E.A.T. Program work to fight gang proliferation in schools and communities? A. Officer Oliver: The G.R.E.A.T. Program is an intervention tool that gives kids the life skills to resist gang involvement. We teach kids they have choices and a responsibility to their communities. The program also helps build trust between law enforcement and youth. Q. How do school officials get more information about the G.R.E.A.T. Program, or request it for their district? A. Officer Oliver: Information is available on the Sheriff’s website at www.suffolksheriff.com or by calling (631) 852-3763.

Sheriff DeMarco Presents Scholarships to two Promising Criminal Justice Students On Wednesday February 15th, Suffolk County Sheriff Vincent F. DeMarco joined with the New York State Sheriffs’ Association Institute in honoring two local students who show promise as future criminal justice leaders. The students, Chris Miklas of Rocky Point and Lauren Norjen of West Babylon (pictured above with Sheriff DeMarco) were selected by Suffolk County Community College to receive the New York State Sheriffs’ Association Institute’s 2011 Criminal Justice Scholarship for their academic excellence and their dedicated pursuit of a career in the field of criminal justice. The students were each awarded a scholarship check in the amount of $250.

In Focus: The G.R.E.A.T. Program

The Suffolk County Sheriff’s Gang Resistance Education and Training (G.R.E.A.T.) Program aims to prevent bullying, youthful crimes, violence, drug use, and gang involvement while improving positive relationships among law enforcement, youth and their families. The curriculum emphasizes essential communication and life skills to help kids resist gang pressure and youth violence. Correction Officer Everett Oliver has been teaching the program since its inception in 2007. In this In Focus interview, Officer Oliver discusses the problem of gangs in Suffolk County. , and it is listed under “Community Programs.” They can make a request for the program through the “Online Request Form” on the

On Guard and In Focus

Page 4

In Focus: Incarcerated Youth
The Sheriff’s Youth Tier Initiative and Youth Reentry Task Force were launched in October 2011. The Youth Tier Program is a designated area within the facility that houses 10 young male inmates between the ages of 16 and 19. The inmates receive intensive life skills training, mentoring, educational services and participate in a program designed to foster greater self-discipline and goal setting. Sheriff DeMarco launched the program with the goal of reducing long-term recidivism among youth in the facility. Statistics indicate that there is a greater than 80% chance that incarcerated youth will be rearrested, often within one year of release. The dedicated members of the Sheriff’s Youth Reentry Task Force are helping to identify barriers to successful reentry for the youth participating in the program, and giving them opportunities for a better future. “Statistics confirm the fact that our jails and prisons have a revolving door and that incarcerated youth tend to engage in more dangerous criminal behavior over time. We need to look at their incarceration both as a punishment, and as an opportunity, to help reform their behavior while they are still young and impressionable,” stated Sheriff DeMarco. For more information about the program, go to www.suffolksheriff.com.

(Pictured from left to right) Sheriff DeMarco, Betty-Jean Wrase, Christopher Coverdale and Dr. Frances Brisbane. Dr. Frances Brisbane, Dean of the SUNY Stony Brook School of Social Welfare, along with members of her staff, met with Sheriff DeMarco on March 2, 2012 to discuss plans for a collaborative program with the University to improve outcomes for incarcerated youth upon release.

Community Organizations Represented on the Sheriff’s Youth Reentry Task Force Family Service League, Inc. Beginning a New Life, Inc. United Way of Long Island Hope House Ministries Riverhead Central School District North Shore Youth Council Eastern Suffolk BOCES Tri Community and Youth Agency LifeLine Mediation Center Colonial Youth and Family Services, Inc.

On January 5 , 2012, Author of the book, No Room for Vengeance, Victoria Ruvolo (center), a victim of a serious crime committed by a group of young people, spoke to the incarcerated youth about her experience, along with Sheriff DeMarco(standing), Co-Author Rob Goldman (on left) and Carol Carter of the Sunshine Prevention Center (on right).

Sunshine Prevention Center Timothy Hill Children’s Ranch SUNY Stony Brook School of Social Welfare

On Guard and In Focus

Page 5 Sheriff DeMarco Tours Hawkins House (circa 1850) On March 2, 2012, Sheriff DeMarco toured the Hawkins House and its grounds in Yaphank to view the ongoing work being done by SLAP (Sheriff’s Labor Assistance Program) crews to clean up and refurbish this historic landmark. The Sheriff committed SLAP crews to assist the historical society in refurbishing aspects of the house that have deteriorated through the years. During the past 12 months, inmates have repaired furniture, painted the north side of the house, repaired flooring throughout the home, hung shutters, installed and painted the handrails on the wood deck, and installed the brick border and walkway around the garden in the front yard. Other intensive projects are ongoing and planned for the remainder of this year. “This kind of hard work makes fiscal sense, but it also improves inmate morale, and gives them an opportunity to do something to repay society for their crimes and the cost of incarceration,” stated Sheriff DeMarco.

Sheriff Vincent DeMarco accepted a Letter of Appreciation from Members of the Yaphank Historical Society during his visit to the Hawkins House on March 2, 2012.

Sheriff DeMarco (right) with Yaphank Historical Society President Robert Kessler (left) toured the Hawkins House on March 2nd, while inmates in the Sheriff’s SLAP Program refurbished the floor in the kitchen area of the historic home.

The Hawkins House (circa 1850)

Important Numbers at the Sheriff’s Office Main Switchboard (631) 852-2200 The Civil Bureau (631) 852-5600 Community Relations Project Lifesaver Visiting Appointments (631) 852-3763 (631) 852-3405 (631) 852-1893/94 (631) 852-2205

The Pistol License Bureau (631) 852-2233 Senior ID Cards Sheriff Vincent DeMarco (631) 852-2215


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