YAPHANK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — There has been more fallout from the coronavirus pandemic on Long Island.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone plans to submit $20 million in budget cuts to the police department.

As CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported Friday, reaction is strong.

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Suffolk has been a go-to destination for many escaping the pandemic, particularly in the Hamptons and East End, even staying beyond the summer. But that boost to the economy has not been enough and it prompted a dire prediction for Bellone.

“Catastrophic cuts to education, to public health, to public safety,” Bellone said.

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

Without federal disaster relief now, cuts, layoffs and furloughs could begin in January. It would start with:

  • Closing the police academy, resulting in 200 fewer officers
  • Canceling the deputy sheriff’s class, losing 40
  • Police aid to the five East End towns, gone
  • Crime scene section cutback
  • The popular School Resource Intervention and Community Support Unit disbanded
  • Police promotions frozen

“The cuts the county executive detailed today can have a dangerous and devastating impact,” Suffolk County Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart said.

“The things have been handled irresponsibly,” one resident said.

“The governor should make the decision, not Washington,” another said.

“Without the police, we’re going to have chaos,” another added.

Republican Legislator Rob Trotta blames mismanagement by the county executive.

“He’s using fear mongering to get more money from the federal government to cover up his huge mistakes,” Trotta said.

“My message to Washington is simple: Don’t defund the police. Don’t defund suburbia, by your inaction. Mr. President, we need your help,” Bellone said.

A recent report suggests Suffolk County faces a $1.5 billion shortfall over the next three years due to the shrinking economy and plummeting tax revenues caused by the pandemic.

The budget is being prepared in the next few weeks. More painful cuts are in store without funding from Capitol Hill.

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