Suffolk County Sheriff Errol D. Toulon, Jr. welcomed two new inmate buses this week to the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office fleet of vehicles. The buses, manufactured by Blue Bird in Fort Valley, GA, were delivered to the Sheriff’s Office Fleet Services Unit at the Riverhead Correctional Facility and received by Chief of Staff Anthony G. Paparatto, Chief Deputy Michael P. Sharkey, and Fleet Management Specialist Kevin Markham.
“We are continually striving to update and modernize our secure correctional facilities,” remarked Sheriff Toulon. “This includes not only the facilities in Riverhead, Yaphank, and at 1st District Court in Islip, but the transportation of inmates as well. These modern buses have every available option to keep the inmates, the Deputies, and the community safe.”
These buses are used daily to transport inmates from the correctional facilities in Riverhead and Yaphank to First District Court in Islip and to transfer inmates between the Yaphank and Riverhead facilities. They are also used to transport sentenced inmates to Downstate Correctional Facility in Fishkill, NY and Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in Bedford Hills, NY. The size of each bus allows inmates to also be spaced at appropriate distances from each other to comply with COVID-19 social distancing regulations. Each climate controlled bus can hold 36 inmates and has six compartments to separate inmates of varying security levels. The buses are outfitted with state of the art closed circuit security surveillance and intercom systems.
The Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office currently has eight certified inmate bus drivers, with plans to have seven more certified by the end of the year. Each driver takes an individualized inmate bus driver education course conducted by Blue Bird and must possess a NYS CDL driver license. Before departing the yard, the drivers inspect the entire bus, inside and out, for any safety issues, contraband, or defective equipment. The bus is inspected again immediately following each trip for the same purpose.
“We have come a long way since my days of driving the inmate bus in the early nineties,” said Chief Deputy Sharkey. “The modern security cameras, intercoms, and ventilation systems in these new buses will go a long way to aid in the safety, security, and comfort of both the inmates and the Deputies.”
For more information on the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office, please visit www.SuffolkSheriff.com.