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For Immediate Release
September 15, 2020

Suffolk Executive Appoints Two From Suffolk to Advisory Panel

Suffolk County Community College’s Chief Diversity Officer and Title IX Coordinator Christina Vargas and Board of Trustee’s member and former chairwoman Theresa Sanders have been appointed by Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone to a 30-member advisory group that will examine existing policing policies and procedures to determine what changes are necessary to promote fair policing.

Under the New York State Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo ordered local governments to develop the plans after a series of demonstrations around the country over the videotaped death of a man who was pinned to the ground by police in Minneapolis.

“I am honored to accept Suffolk County Executive Steven Bellone’s appointment to address the tensions and distrust between communities of color and law enforcement. As the President / CEO of the Urban League of Long Island I stand committed to fulfilling this role and bring leadership and corrective action reforms to make our region a model for equity and support law enforcement’s mission to protect and serve all communities,” said Suffolk County Community College trustee Theresa Sanders.

“Suffolk County Community College students and alumni have shared their strong interest in promoting positive, substantial changes that engage our communities,” Vargas said. “I look forward to working with members of the Suffolk County Police Department and the community to develop a plan that includes equitable, just and innovative solutions.”

The Advisory Group is composed of the following members:

  • Vanessa Baird-Streeter, deputy county executive
  • Suffolk County Legislature Majority Leader William “Doc” Spencer
  • Girish Patel of the BAPS Hindu temple
  • Jennifer Leveque, Huntington Leaders of the New School
  • Suffolk County Legislator Tom Donnelly
  • Jon Kaiman, Deputy County Executive
  • Retha Fernandez, Suffolk County Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer
  • Geri Hart, Suffolk County Police Department Commissioner
  • Risco Mention-Lewis, Suffolk County Police Department Deputy Commissioner
  • Stu Cameron, Suffolk County Police Department Chief of Department
  • Errol Toulon, Suffolk County Sheriff
  • Tim Sini, Suffolk County District Attorney
  • Presiding Officer Rob Calarco
  • Minority leader Tom Cilmi
  • Legislator Jason Richberg
  • Legislator Sam Gonzales
  • Noel DiGerolamo, President, Suffolk PBA
  • Theresa Sanders, President, Urban League of Long Island
  • Christina Vargas, Chief Diversity Officer/Title IX Coordinator Suffolk Community College 
  • Daniel Russo, Administrator, Assigned Counsel Defender Plan of Suffolk County
  • Rev. Charles Coverdale, First Baptist of Riverhead
  • Bishop Andy Lewter, Hollywood Baptist Cathedral
  • Kathleen King, Chair Suffolk County Native American Advisory Board
  • Pastor Angel Falcon, Faith Alive Ministries
  • Sister Sanaa Nadim, Chaplain, Islamic Society of North America
  • Cindy Reide Combs, LMSW
  • Serena Liguori, Executive Director, New Hour for Women & Children
  • Rabbi Abe Rabinovich, Kings Parks Jewish Center
  • David Kilmnick, President and Chief Executive Officer, LGBT Network