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With Curfew Lifted, Police Launch 'Blue-Gray' Patrols

State Troopers and National Guard on the streets of Long Beach the day after Hurricane Sandy slammed the city. (Credit: Joseph Kellard)
State Troopers and National Guard on the streets of Long Beach the day after Hurricane Sandy slammed the city. (Credit: Joseph Kellard)

Since last week, when Long Beach lifted its city-wide curfew that was imposed after Hurricane Sandy knocked out power and other vital utilities, the police department has initiated a “blue-gray” patrol, in which officers are paired with State Troopers to perform around-the-clock tours, and it has created more posts.

“We’ve taken our five posts that we typically have and we’ve divided them into nine sectors,” said Sgt. Eric Cregeen, a spokesman for the Long Beach Police Department. “So that’s given each officer a smaller area to patrol and we’ve doubled up the cars with a trooper and the police officer.”

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All LBPD officers have performed 12-hour tours since the start of the curfew, a 
policy that will continue until Commissioner Michael Tangney sees fit to lift it, Cregeen said. Despite that Sandy rendered many LBPD officers effectively homeless, they continue to work their tours.

“We have guys who live in Island Park and Oceanside that were affected by the storm, and we have one guy in Seaford who lost everything,” Cregeen said.

The curfew was lifted at a special City Council meeting Nov. 20, but City Manager Jack Schnirman said then that the city would maintain indefinitely the state of emergency that was declared prior to Sandy’s arrival on Oct. 29. The curfew aimed primarily to deter potential looting of homes and businesses in the powerless and partially vacated city, and Long Beach police, Nassau police, State Troopers and National Guard worked in together to protect residents and property.

In preparation for the hurricane, the LBPD had planned to park its fleet of vehicles on the second level of the parking garage located directly across from police headquarters, but Sandy altered those plans.

“They couldn’t sit idle when people are calling for help,” Cregeen said about the fleet, half of which was totaled. “We had to get out there to the people and that’s how we ended up losing the cars.”

The department expects it may lose more vehicles. “That’s just face value,” Cregeen said about the roughly 12 cars that were destroyed. “With the salt water, two or three months from now we may see some major problems with the remaining cars.”

Some officers and troopers have peformed their blue-gray patrols in cars from various areas, including Hempstead and Albany, as well as in state vehicles and a Humvee.

Meanwhile, the LBPD’s weekly police report, released Tuesday, lists two arrests, a smaller number compared to pre-Sandy blotters, which Cregeen attributed in part to the blue-gray patrols. “There’s an omnipresence of officers on the streets,” Cregeen said. “You can’t turn a corner without seeing another police car out there.”

About an incident on East Olive Street on Sunday night or Monday morning, in which four wheels were stolen from a new 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee, Cregeen said that it was an isolated incident that is not indicative of any crime spree.  

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Immediately after the storm the LBPD received 30 reports of missing vehicles, but none turned out to be stolen. “Our detectives ran down every one and we were able to locate every car, which either floated to another location or was towed away,” Cregeen said.

Of the trucks that towed storm-damaged cars out of town, Cregeen said the traffic department provided a detailed account of the towing services in the city. “They had all out-of-town guys registered that they were bringing in and we knew where every car was from the storm onward,” he said.
paul.d.spellman November 28, 2012 at 11:33 AM
Here is an idea, create a 10th sector and have the LBPD spokesman/PIO patrol it.
toolittle November 28, 2012 at 12:24 PM
where we can we report cars that are still abandoned ? we have several on our street.
Eddie November 29, 2012 at 08:58 PM
Anyone in Long Beach throughout the storm and the aftermath would have to agree that the Long Beach Police as well as the visiting agencies did a wonderful job in virtually preventing all crime. Many of these officers and troopers haven't been home in weeks, and those that have are coming and going from their own flooded homes. With all the controversy and politics that taint many of these agencies, it's great to see first hand the dedication of these public servants who make policing this town their life's calling. Thank you officers.
jimmy walsh December 01, 2012 at 10:47 PM
how long did it take dumb ass tangney to think of that name . maybe tangney could ask the officer in charge of the state troopers to sovle all the shootingsthat have taken place in long beach this year because the keystone leaders he has cant sole them

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