2017-04-19 / Civics and Politics

Undercover ‘Narcs’ To Use Rented Vehicles

By Eric Gross

When it comes to narcotics peddling in Putnam County, police have no mercy.

The Putnam Legislature’s Protective Services Committee Monday evening made it even more difficult for those who sell their poison throughout the county by authorizing the Sheriff’s Department to rent vehicles used by the undercover members of the Countywide Narcotics Enforcement Unit.

Sheriff Don Smith authorized the spending of State Seized Asset Funds to rent the vehicles at a cost of $7,409.

Cars to be rented include intermediate-sized vehicles such as a Hyundai Elantra or similar type cars at a cost of $20.30 per day.

The three member committee consisting of Legislator Bill Gouldman of Putnam Valley, Paul Jonke of Southeast and Neal Sullivan of Mahopac, who was sitting in for Legislator Joseph Castellano, approved the measure and forwarded it to the full legislature for its vote on May 2.

Gouldman asked Undersheriff Paul Boscia, who was in attendance, why seized vehicles could not be used. The undersheriff replied: “They look like junk and are junk.”

Legislator Carl Albano, who was also in attendance along with Legislators Ginny Nacerino, Toni Addonizio and Barbara Scuccimarra, called the idea a “good one. The bad guys won’t recognize the cars containing the undercover deputies.”

Nacerino also queried Boscia about any additional equipment or retrofitting needed for the rental cars. The reply: “There is none. The cars will be used strictly for undercover operations.”

The committee also received an update on the county’s recent awarding of $482,829 under the NYS Statewide Interoperable Communications Grant Program.

Assistant Commissioner of Emergency Services Robert Lipton said the program allows for state support to aid county, local and municipal public safety organizations to enhance emergency response while improving capability improvements in structures, operating procedures and infrastructure development.

The grant will be used locally to improve “interoperability and operability of communication systems countywide.”

Lipton admitted that the county was “hoping for a little bit more, yet we are most pleased with the amount Putnam received.”

The first meeting of the evening – Economic Development and Energy Committee – was one of the county legislature’s shortest sessions on record. The get-together chaired by Legislator Addonizio lasted for only 42 seconds when discussion related to foreclosure prevention was postponed due to the absence of the guest speaker. The pledge, roll call, unemployment report and motion to adjourn were over with in less than a minute.

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