The recent announcement from Nassau County to its eight police precincts into four has drawn much speculation and concern from residents, politicians and PBA officials.
The idea behind the plan is an elimination of more than 100 desk jobs and slashes "costly" built-in overtime benefits, County Executive Ed Mangano said.
The merger 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.
While Police Commissioner Thomas Dale has thrown his support behind this plan, the Nassau County Police Benevolent Association (PBA) has been adamantly against it.
PBA President Jim Carver cited a potential increase in police response time and a recent spike in crime as concerns surrounding this plan.
"They’re taking 10 pounds of crime and putting it in a 5-pound bag," Carver told Patch.
However, the county has stood by its plan and claims that the police services that Nassau residents are familiar with will not change.
"Residents should not be fooled by the PBA's scare tactics," Mangano said. "When you dial 911, the call goes to a 911 call center in New Cassel, then to the police car in your neighborhood — that will not change under this plan as all 177 patrol cars remain in their current neighborhoods."
The Eighth Precinct will be converted into a community policing center approximately 30 days after legislative approval, which will more than likely happen at the Feb. 27 legislative meeting. Every 60 days thereafter, a new precinct will be realigned in this order; the Sixth, Fifth and First.
The county added that the 60-day cycle is not written in stone and will be adjusted as deemed necessary by the police commissioner.
Carver said that the 60-day cycle is not enough time. The PBA president said that the county should close one precinct on a trial basis and then re-evaluate.
“We are rushing into something that I believe is going to change policing for the next 50 years and negatively impact the way we police out here," Carver said. "It’s not good for anyone.”
The PBA also contends that there will not be more police on patrol, but the county has said the plan will "increase the number cops available for enforcement."
Nassau legislators will vote on the precinct merger on Monday, Feb. 27.
This is the first part of our series on the plan to merge the precincts in Nassau County. Check back with Patch for more on this special report.