“The officers of the East Hampton Town Police Department put a tremendous effort into community policing, quality-of-life enforcement, and increasing overall enforcement activity” in 2022, Chief Michael D. Sarlo stated in his annual report, which was released on Monday.
The data show that across town, East Hampton saw more reports of identity theft, fraud, larceny, trespassing, and sex crimes last year than it did in 2021. There were 17 calls about possible drug overdoses among adults, a five-year high, with only one fatal incident. Across the department’s five sectors, officers made 41 percent more arrests, issued 49 percent more traffic tickets, and logged a collective 7,249 hours of training, an increase of 25 percent over 2021.
Among more than 25,000 documented “interactions with the public,” four civilians filed complaints and 10 incidents involved “use of force.” Both those numbers were up slightly from 2021, when two civilians lodged complaints and eight incidents involved use of force. Nine officers were injured on duty.
Townwide, there were zero detainments in immigration, customs enforcement, or homeland security cases, consistent with the prior year.
Chief Sarlo drew attention to the bravery and selflessness of his department, which includes 67 sworn officers and 26 civilians. Among the “hallmarks” of their service to the town, he wrote, were “community policing, conflict resolution, policing with ‘impartial perception,’ and a devotion to solving crimes while protecting the peace and good order.”
Arrests for drunken driving rose from 77 in 2020 and 70 in 2021 to 115 in 2022. Overall arrests also shot up, from 287 in 2020 and 284 in 2021 to 487 last year, though they remained lower than pre-pandemic levels. The five-year high was 805 arrests in 2018.
Notable among last year’s numbers was a five-year-high of 732 violations of the town code, more than double the 340 written the year before.
East Hampton Town Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc said by phone on Tuesday that much of that jump can be attributed to the newly established administrative adjudication bureau, which handles certain types of tickets more expeditiously. Speaking of the big jump in arrests, Mr. Van Scoyoc said things seemed to be “normalizing” now that the pandemic is largely over.
While the number of parking tickets issued, 4,723, remained much lower than pre-pandemic levels — 8,382 in 2018 — it was almost one-third more than in 2021.
The department’s most common “crimes and cases investigated” included larcenies, also known as theft (166 incidents, up from 104), and identity theft and fraud (141 incidents, up from 85). Twenty people reported sex offenses, up from 13 the year before, and 12 reported stolen vehicles, up from five. Police investigated seven missing-persons cases, up from one the year before.
The average response time for top-priority cases was six minutes and six seconds, faster by nearly two minutes than response times in the prior year.
The department’s marine patrol division cited 180 drivers last year for not having a beach-driving permit, encompassing the legal conflict over Truck Beach on Napeague that has put the town at odds with homeowners’ associations there. The next highest category of offense was shellfishing without a permit — 118 violations were recorded in a year that saw crab-poaching incidents escalate to front-page news headlines.
Marine patrol also wrote 849 parking tickets and 67 tickets involving dogs on the beaches outside permitted hours.
In an era in which law enforcement is being scrutinized ever more closely, particularly following the May 2020 death of George Floyd, Mr. Van Scoyoc said that East Hampton’s police have the widespread support of the community.
“There was this broad public backlash against police, very generalized, and there are some real, unfortunate side effects of that,” he said. “We need our police. We rely on them. Our local community has been very supportive, and frankly, I am extremely proud of our department and their efforts in community policing.”
In his report, Chief Sarlo also laid out a few future goals, including launching a body-camera program, hosting a civilian police academy, filling “all available uniform and civilian staffing positions,” and increasing public awareness and enforcement to “promote safer roadways.”
This story has been updated since it was first published to correct a reference to the number of fatal overdoses in East Hampton in 2022.