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, 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 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."
Legislator Howard Kopel (R-Lawrence) said he was thankful that the Fourth Precinct will remain to operate the same.
"The county executive makes some good arguments in terms of the fact that there should be extra patrol people in the street and most people will not see a difference," he said. "I’ll listen to counter arguments as well and see how it goes."
Hewlett Harbor Trustee Tom Cohen said he's hopeful services for the Five Towns will remain the same.
"While [the county executive] and his team are exploring every possible area to reduce costs, we are keeping a vigilant eye on the level of service we have come to expect from the Nassau County Police Department," he said. "We are hopeful that all the parties involved will make attempts to eliminate non-essential and redundant services while at the same time looking toward maintaining, or even improving, the level of coverage from our local patrol personal."
Village of Lawrence Trustee Michael Fragin said that "governments should always be looking for ways to improve and streamline. What made sense decades ago may not make sense today."
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," Carver said, "well, they're dead wrong on this."