Suffolk County warns of cuts to police citing lack of federal COVID-19 relief

SUFFOLK COUNTY (WABC) -- As an example of what local municipalities are facing all around the country absent any action by Congress, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone warned Friday of police funding cuts of as much as $20 million as part of "catastrophic budget cuts" to deal with the fiscal crisis caused by the coronavirus.

The cuts could include canceling two police recruitment classes for 200 police officers to save $9 million, suspending the class for 40 deputy sheriffs to save another $1.5 million, freezing police promotions to save another $1 million.

His potential cuts would also take $5 million in the county aid to the five East End police departments.

Other cuts include -- $1 million from the police department's crime scene section and another $1 million from the school officer resources program, where police go into schools to talk to students.

Bellone notes his county may have to cut critical police services at the same time it has become a haven for wealthy city residents during the pandemic. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has a home in the county and President Trump has visited to raise money.

"They are effectively defunding the police, they are effectively defunding surburbia, because they have not delivered disaster assistance to state and local governments. And it's unacceptable, it's wrong," Bellone said.

The county executive also made a direct appeal to President Trump requesting that he call upon U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to pass a federal disaster assistance bill in the U.S. Senate to prevent the potential cuts.

RELATED: MTA warns of massive budget cuts without federal funding

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