Corresponding Secretary Debbie Grayer with Linda Miller, President of the Selden Civic Association

Debbie spoke to a joint meeting of the Selden and Centereach Civic Associations, telling the story of the Suffolk County Civilian Police Academy and encouraging potential applicants.

For civilian trainees, a Suffolk cop’s eye view of police work

Eddie McGee, 30, of South Setauket, holds his diploma at...
Eddie McGee, 30, of South Setauket, holds his diploma at this month’s graduation of the Suffolk County Civilian Police Academy in Brentwood. Credit: Johnny Milano

By Keldy Ortizkeldy.ortiz@newsday.comUpdated June 26, 2022 11:39 pm

South Setauket resident Eddie McGee said he’s been subjected to name-calling by police and mistaken for a suspect in a crime, and yet, the interactions stoked his curiosity, which led to more questions.

McGee, who is Black, said that after his own encounters, and a string of high-profile killings of people of color in recent years, he wanted to get inside the minds of cops to gain insight into what they face on the street, and take what he learned and share it with the community.

The end result of his curiosity was displayed earlier this month when McGee, 30, joined 23 other Suffolk residents in the latest graduating class of the Suffolk County Civilian Police Academy in Brentwood.

McGee, who now hopes to become a community liaison with the Suffolk police department, said the 16-week course left him with a renewed respect for law enforcement because “you see firsthand what they have to do, what they have to go through and the situations they have to face. It’s not easy. It’s not easy for anybody.”

“I’m sure after these weeks of training that you’ve seen,” Harrison said, ” … there’s more of a level of respect for the men and women that do this profession.”

A closer look at police work came courtesy of Suffolk cops who taught the citizen trainees potential real-life scenarios when handling calls such as domestic violence and homicide investigations. Instructors discussed situations they have faced such as police-involved shootings. Trainees were also offered the opportunity to ride along with Suffolk police officers.

“When you get put in those situations and you have to make those split-second decisions, then you realize, ‘OK, maybe that wasn’t as easy’ ” as it appeared, McGee said.

The academy, which had its first official civilian class in 1993, is not typically a recruitment tool — participants are often over 34, the maximum age to take the police written exam, Suffolk police said. Of the participants, 17 were white, five Hispanic, four Black and one, a transgender woman.

Nassau police have a civilian academy that started in 1997 and offers a 15-week seminar.

A law enforcement expert said that while police civilian academies present the “police story” in a condensed way, “they’re essentially marketing tools.”

“To the extent that they do a job of portraying the reality of policing, that’s probably not a bad thing,” said Dennis Kenney, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. “The mission of reaching into communities that have distrust with the police and addressing those issues really would not be well suited for any kind of police academy arrangement. You need a different kind of forum to be able to engage in that.”

Past citizen academy classes also included Black people and other minorities, Suffolk Deputy Commissioner Risco Mention-Lewis said, and they have graduated from the class with a greater appreciation for police officers’ training and the challenges they face every day.

“Everybody who takes this class gets something out of it,” she said.

Alejandra Becerra, of Kings Park, joined the class because she has been interested in criminal justice and forensics. However, she said she couldn’t imagine working as a police officer because it’s “a very high-risk profession.”

“At least … I know even if I have a bad day, I know that I’ll always make it home,” said Becerra, 28, who works as a banker for Chase, adding that as a police officer, “you don’t know if you’re going to come home.”

With Michael O’KeeffeBy Keldy

Deputy Inspector D’Agostino presided.

559 crimes were reported in the precinct for May 2022.

Last year during the same period there were 574 crimes reported.

This is a decrease of 2.6% for the month of May.


  • 2 Homicides
  • 10 Aggravated Assaults
  • 3 Burglaries
    • 2 residential
    • 1 commercial
  • 1 Robbery
  • 8 Grand Larcenies Auto
  • 3 reported trigger pulls (2 victims shot)


There were 248 arrests covering 356 charges, including 8 assaults, 2 burglaries, 59 drug, 4 robberies, 17 DWIs(23 charges).


6 fatal as compared to 5 fatal in May 2021.

18 non-fatal as compared to 20 in May 2021.


517 crashes this period (1 fatal) as compared to 577 crashes in May 2021.

27 of these crashes involved leaving the scene and 6 were DWI related.

Officers wrote 1,753tickets in May 2022.

The ATV multiple agency task force has been active in curbing illegal, unregistered ATV activity.


CT 22-01 Catalytic Converters from Vehicles

The SCPD is investigating a crime trend including a significant number of catalytic converters being cut off of vehicles throughout the County. These incidents have taken place in all SCPD Precincts. Incidents have occurred at residential and commercial locations and have targeted both single vehicles and large commercial fleets. (Includes arrest of 2 subjects in the 6th Precinct).

CP 22-05 Smash & Grab Burglaries – Subject Wearing Unique Jacket

The SCPD is investigating 11 commercial burglaries where a subject throws a rock/stone through the front glass door and pries open the cash register. In most incidents, the subject can be observed wearing a thermal style jacket, a possible home-made white face covering, hiking style boots and gloves with a reflective strip on the top facing side of the hand. It is to be noted that multiple spotted stains and markings are visible on the subject’s jacket as seen on night vision camera footage. 5 incidents occurred on 4/2/22. No arrests as of this date.

CP 22-04 Pharmacy Smash & Grab Burglaries – Prescription Proceeds

The SCPD is investigating a series of pharmacy burglaries throughout the county. The burglaries occured in Dix Hills, Deer Park, Mt. Sanai, Commack and Ronkonkoma – with two January incidents occurring within 30 minutes of one another. All incidents include two males entering the establishment, and one getaway driver. Incidents have occurred during the weekdays between 0400 – 0700 hours. No arrests as of this date.

CP 22-02 Commercial Burglaries – Pried Entry

The SCPD is investigating 9 commercial burglaries primarily on the north shore. The suspect typically pries open the rear door, removes cash from the office/register area, removes the surveillance video and/or damages the surveillance system. In several incidents the suspect poured bleach or a liquid substance to damage evidence. Several cases appear similar to burglaries included on CP 20-04. The majority of incidents have occurred during the overnight hours between Sunday to Monday. Several cases have occurred at businesses located off of Jericho Tpke within the 2nd & 4th Pcts and North Country Rd/Rt 25A in the 4th and 6th Pct. No arrests to date.

CP 22-01 Smash & Grab Burglaries – Fast Food Establishments

The SCPD is investigating 10 smash and grab burglaries where the subject breaks the glass door/window with a rock or brick. The subject targets the register area, sometimes climbs over the counter and removes the register drawers. Several Dunkin Donut locations have been targeted. No arrests to date.

Submitted by Lou Giudice