Less than one month after Nassau County announced its decision to merge eight police precincts into four, police union officials claimed that public safety was being put at risk. They are singing a different tune, however, after recent negotiations with the county.
Jim Carver, president of the Nassau County Police Benevolent Association (PBA), told Patch that the union and county came to a deal that will keep patrol units where they currently serve. Patrol units will now be assigned to one of the four corresponding community policing centers or one of the four precincts.
The original plan called for all patrols to be stationed out of the four precincts.
"Eighth Precinct cops, even though they're going to merging with the Second Precinct, they're going to be assigned to the policing center, which basically keeps everything intact," Carver said. "In other words, no patrols will be changed, which is what our concern was."
Carver said the realignment, which was approved by the Nassau Legislature in March, will save the county money as far as administrative functions go, but will not jeopardize public safety as he has mentioned in the past.
The deal, according to Carver, came the same day that 98 members of the Nassau County Police Department (NCPD) accepted a voluntary incentive to retire before the March 22 deadline, saving the county more than $23 million in annual labor costs.
"For the most part, the savings come from administrative downsizing, but it doesn't effect the way that we've patrolled in the past," he said. "… Your neighborhood cop will still be your neighborhood cop."
The county confirmed that the changes to patrols will not affect the total savings from the realignment. According to county officials, the plan still provides for savings of approximately $20 million annually.
“Nassau's precinct realignment plan is progressing on schedule and residents will be happy to know that public safety remains intact as all patrol cars will remain in their current neighborhoods and 48 additional police officers will be assigned to patrol to protect our neighborhoods," Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano said.
The change in patrol, or lack thereof, might not be the last modification to the policing plan. Both Carver and the county said that negotiations are still ongoing.
The NCPD is scheduled to complete the first realignment on May 1 when the Eighth Precinct will then be transformed into a community policing center.
This is the fourth part of our series on the plan to merge the precincts in Nassau County. Check back with Patch for more on this special report.