While the five villages in Old Brookville, NY on Long Island agree that better cell service is needed, some are worried that while the cell tower is under construction at the Old Brookville police station, limited access to the parking lot will keep police from responding quickly.
“We do not believe you can reasonably take the position that the construction of the cell tower will not interfere with police department operations if … contractors and vendors need access to the parking lot in order to construct and/or maintain the cell tower,” Mill Neck Mayor Peter Quick wrote in a letter to the Long Island Press. Opponents agreed that the Old Brookville Police Department should pick another tower site without any impediments.
“The police can’t come if they never get the call,” countered Upper Brookville Trustee Carl A. Friedrich. “There’s no delay greater than when police are not able to get the call on the first, second, or third attempt due to inferior cell service in the area.”
OBPD Chief Christopher Walsh said his main concern was the efficient operation of the police force. Matinecock Village Deputy Mayor Albert Kalimian added, “The tower that you’re proposing putting on the police headquarters only satisfies 200 or 250 of your residents, whereas the tower impacting the police impacts 10,000 residents. There is a magnitude here of importance … and police coverage trumps cell coverage for 250 residents.”
Charged with constructing the proposed 140-foot tower, an official spokesperson from AT&T commented that “We continually work to improve our network and we will coordinate with the Village of Upper Brookville as we build the critical infrastructure that will enhance coverage for Long Island residents, guests, and first responders.”
Opponent Matt Schamroth, who holds a position on OBPD’s board of commissioners, said “It would be criminal if the lack of response time because something has now been slowed down results in something that you can’t undo.”
The five villages were in agreement that better cell service is needed in the region, but the OBPD location was not a satisfactory solution for all. “While the installation of a mobile antennae may have some negative impacts in regard to aesthetics,” said tower supporter Elliot Conway, Mayor of Upper Brookville, “This impact is more than offset by the improved level of service for the public, including health and safety benefits, and the additional revenue to the village. The amount of traffic to and from the site will be minimal with only a visit or two a month at most.”
Upper Brookville is also poised to earn $30,000 per tower occupant, giving this town, and others, an additional financial incentive to approve plans to go ahead with the construction of the OBPD cell tower, according to the account.