Story updated at 10:05 a.m. on March 21.
After last week's approval by the Nassau Legislature, the ball is officially rolling on County Executive Ed Mangano's police precinct realignment, something the county's Police Benevolent Association says "is going to change policing for the next 50 years."
The plan calls for the county's eight precincts to be merged into four, as well as the elimination of more than 100 desk jobs and cuts in "costly" built-in overtime benefits.
According to the county, the Eighth Precinct will be converted into a community policing center approximately 30 days after legislative approval – which sets the prospective date for April 4.
The community policing centers have been a topic of concern for many residents and PBA officials, who are uncertain of their role in the overall realignment and just how long they will be in place for.
"I don’t believe that those substations will stay open for very long," PBA President Jim Carver told Patch. "Wait until Mangano’s re-election comes about and then they’ll be eliminating [the community policing centers] to save more money."
According to the PBA, at one of the first community meetings, Deputy County Executive Rob Walker said that within a year, the county might realize that they don't need the community centers, so they would consider selling those buildings.
The county responded by saying the PBA took the quote out of context. According to the county, Walker stated that they move the facilities to other communities and, if this occurs, the county and Nassau County Police Department (NCPD) would work with the communities to determine the best possible location.
In a statement to Patch, the county originally said that the community policing centers would have two people assigned to them. However, earlier this week, Newsday [paid link] confirmed that the policing centers would now have "up to 10 officers" in them at any given time.
The staffing complement at the community policing centers will include two desk officers on duty on each of two 12-hour shifts, Krumpter said. There will also be two detectives assigned during each of two 12-hour shifts.
According to Newsday, there will also be at least two supervisors and two Problem-Oriented Police (POP) officers who respond to community concerns.
The county also maintains that it will accommodate residents as necessary should the situation arise, claiming that the NCPD will remain a "service-orientated department."
"We will respond to the complainant's house or the policing center to meet the complainant," the county said in a statement. "If necessary we will transport the complainant to the precinct."
However, Carver's concerns continued on to the officers that would be working in the policing centers. The PBA president said that when police officers get hurt, sometimes they go on "light duty" and that these are the officers that the county wants at the policing centers. He believes that this will be a problem if an incident were to occur at the precinct.
Again, the county countered by saying this will be no different from the current format.
"Currently there are frequently situations where members who are working in a station on the desk are on restricted duty," the county said. "Quite often we have four to five members on the desk who are on restricted duty when there are only three posts."
This is the third part of our series on the plan to merge the precincts in Nassau County. Check back with Patch for more on this special report.
- Part I:
- Part II: Vacuum Effect, Transport Time