In an effort to cut back on spending, Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano and Police Commissioner Thomas Dale announced Monday that four of the county's eight police precincts will be restructured.
Four precincts will remain intact while the remaining four will be transformed into new Community Policing Centers, Mangano said.
According to a release from the county, the Second Precinct in Woodbury, Third Precinct in Williston Park, Fourth Precinct in Hewlett and Seventh Precinct in Seaford will continue to operate as regular precincts, while the First Precinct in Baldwin, Fifth Precinct in Elmont, Sixth Precinct in Manhasset and Eighth Precinct in Levittown will become community policing centers.
The Fifth Precinct, which is located in Elmont, covers West Hempstead, Lakeview, Malverne, Elmont, Franklin Square, Valley Stream, South Floral Park and South Garden City will become a community policing center.
The plan also eliminates more than 100 desk jobs and slashes "costly" built-in overtime benefits, Mangano said. A total of 48 police officers will be reassigned from desk jobs to Problem Oriented Police (POP) positions.
While the number of precincts and desk jobs will shrink, Mangano said the number of patrol cars will remain the same.
"Keeping residents safe is my number one priority," Mangano said. "This plan keeps all 177 patrols cars in their current neighborhoods, assigns more cops to POP and opens four new Community Policing Centers throughout the county while increasing efficiencies."
According to Nassau County Communications Director Brian Nevin, the timeline to complete the entire process will take approximately six months.
The plan also corrects a workload imbalance that had been seen throughout the eight precincts, as three police precincts presently perform twice the workload of the remaining five precincts.
"This plan saves taxpayers significant dollars while streamlining duplicative work, redistributing workload and assigning more officers to POP and special patrol," Dale said. "... Residents should know that response time will not be impacted as police officers will remain in their current neighborhoods and additional officers will be assigned to our neighborhoods."
James Carver, President of the Nassau PBA, told 1010 WINS' Mona Rivera that he is going to fight the plan.
"We currently have eight police precincts and they're trying to tell everybody that having four police precincts is a better way to police Nassau County, well they're dead wrong on this," Carver said.
Nassau County Legis. Robert Troiano, who represents the second district, which includes Lakeview, was concerned about how the changes could affect the community.
He told Patch that Lakeview will be consolidated into the Fourth Precinct, roughly doubling the amount of people the precinct serves. "That has to have some impact on service," he said.
Troiano said the changes could result in longer response times or gaps in public safety, but admitted that at this time he couldn't predict what the outcomes will be. "I wish I had more insight," he added.
"The problem is that no one knows how this is going to impact police protection for the communities the Fifth Precinct serves until it is actually done," said Marshall Myers, a West Hempstead resident and member of the West Hempstead Community Support and Civic Association. "If this plan is found to be flawed after a period of time goes by, what is the back-up plan? Reopen the precinct as it was?"
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