East Williston Security Committee changes to quarterly meetings

Village elections will take place Tuesday. Among the polling stations are the East Williston Village Hall, pictured above.

East Williston’s Security Committee will now meet every three months instead of once a month, committee members said Monday.

Meeting less frequently will give more time for the village to implement solutions to security problems and produce tangible results, which can take longer than a month to materialize, Caroline DeBenedittis, the committee chairwoman, said.

“We just feel that every four months, I think you would see more progress than we do monthly,” she said.

The next meeting is scheduled for April 25, DeBenedittis said.

The three-member committee held its third meeting since October on Monday night. The village Board of Trustees formed it last summer in response to residents’ growing security concerns.

The committee has worked extensively with trustees to develop new security measures and voice residents’ suggestions to the board, committee member Walter Rivera said.

It will continue meeting regularly with the board between quarterly meetings, DeBenedittis said.

Trustees have continued to address security worries by soliciting bids to install lights and security cameras at Devlin Field, a park where vandalism and other crimes have been reported, Rivera said.

Implementing that and other measures is a longer process than most residents realize, giving the impression that the committee and the village are inactive, he said.

“Don’t get discouraged if your idea doesn’t get picked up, or [if] you don’t hear anything within 30, 60, 90 days,” Rivera said. “We did listen, and it goes out.”

The Security Committee is an informal body that advises the Board of Trustees and has no official powers. The board appoints its members.

The village also hired a private security firm to patrol its streets in November 2015, but recently stopped employing it because there was no longer a need, village Mayor David Tanner said.

A vocal group of residents has continued to push for more proactive security measures in the small, affluent village despite a drop in reported crimes last year compared with 2015.

John Azzara and Nicole Russo, two of those residents, told the committee Monday that they would like trustees to give more periodic updates on specific steps they are taking to improve security.

That would make residents feel more like their concerns are being heard rather than dismissed, Russo said.

“This is the normal course of business,” Azzara said. “To not talk about it is not the answer.”

But trustees do not want to give residents updates without certainty that a project or initiative is moving forward or before all the details are finalized, DeBenedittis said.

“They don’t want to feel that they’re giving you misinformation,” she said

Tanner said the village has continued to be responsive to security concerns despite the crime drop and that trustees offer information at their public monthly meetings.

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