Off-duty cops at Hooters as town goes officer-less

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An outing by a group of off-duty police officers has some Deerpark leaders upset because the town was left without police coverage for the night. According to Deerpark officials, several off-duty officers, law enforcement officials and residents went to a Hooters restaurant 35 miles away in Franklin, N.J., last Thursday.

None of the town's 18 officers were on duty that night. Two officers were originally scheduled for the shift, but one was suspended for an unrelated matter and the other was excused from duty because he had asked not to be scheduled alone for evening shifts, said Police Chief Bill Werner.

"Where we went had nothing to do with the issue at hand. We have numerous scheduling issues," said Werner of the excursion. Werner added that they don?t have the manpower to cover the town 24 hours a day. State police handle overnight coverage beginning at midnight, said Werner. The police chief says the safety in Deerpark wasn't compromised because of the trip.

Town Supervisor Mark House said that although he doesn't agree with the restaurant choice, the real issue was the lack of police coverage. He said the outing doesn't look good because Deerpark was left without its police. Town Council members are now investigating the issue.

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