Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed into law a bill that corrects a two-decade old oversight that will allow Suffolk County police officers, including those on the East End, to ride the rails for free.
Sponsored by State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. of Sag Harbor, the law extends the 20-year-old Long Island Rail Road no-fare program to include those serving in Suffolk County police departments. The law was created in the wake of the 1993 LIRR massacre, in which gunman Colin Ferguson opened fire on a crowded train in Garden City, killing six people and injuring 19 others.
An audit recently completed by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which oversees the LIRR, revealed that officers employed in Suffolk County were not covered by the original state law, unlike those serving in New York City and Nassau County.
“In the drafting of this worthy program, the East End town police forces were inadvertently left out, no doubt because there are no town police [departments] in western Suffolk or Nassau County,” Mr. Thiele said in a prepared statement. “This legislation corrects this oversight.
“The presence of police officers in our train stations and on the trains is a welcome sight at a time when transportation hubs remain a target for violence and terrorism,” he continued. “This program is needed now more than ever.”