MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Police precincts in Nassau County have been chopped due to an ongoing budget battle.
With the county facing a $310 million budget gap, the Legislature voted along party lines, 10-9, on Monday afternoon in favor of closing half of the county’s eight precincts. According to CBS 2′s Jennifer McLogan, one Republican legislator who voted for the proposal left in tears.
“You are soft on crime, and that’s how we see this plan,” one angry taxpayer said.
“It’s very heavy on hyperbole and short on factual data as to what the commissioner plans to do with this county,” another taxpayer said.
1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria Reports
Moments after Nassau’s new police commissioner, Thomas Dale, was confirmed, he was subjected to jeers and catcalls after admitting the exact details of the controversial police precinct realignment plan were still being worked out — although the vote was scheduled just moments away.
“How could you with good conscience vote on a plan that is up in the air?” Valley Stream resident Milagros Vicente told CBS 2′s Hazel Sanchez.
Some taxpayers complained bitterly and the Democrats — up in arms — demanded tabling the plan until kinks can be worked out to downsize the police force.
“I never voted in my 17 years I’m here on a plan that’s in flux every minute of every day, and I don’t understand how anybody up here could possibly vote on it,” 16th District Legislator Judith Jacobs said.
Under the plan, the 1st Precinct in Baldwin, 5th Precinct in Elmont, 6th Precinct in Manhasset and 8th Precinct in Levittown will become community policing centers with fewer officers.
EXTRA: Precinct Map (pdf)
The 2nd Precinct in Woodbury, 3rd Precinct in Williston Park, 4th Precinct in Hewlett and 7th Precinct in Seaford will remain open and operate as usual.
WCBS 880 Reporter Mike Xirinachs Reports
Officials said 48 police officers will be moved from desk jobs to so-called “problem-oriented police positions.”
County Executive Ed Mangano said the plan will save taxpayers up to $20 million a year, eliminating over 100 desk jobs and slashing overtime costs. He said police patrols wouldn’t change in neighborhoods.
“We’re talking about what public safety looks like in the policing centers, and I assure you it’s a lot more than two police officers 24 hours a day, which, unfortunately, some of the public were led to believe. We are sitting down intelligently talking about police work and that’s a good thing for everyone here in Nassau County,” Mangano said.
Mangano and Commissioner Dale said residents have nothing to fear.
“We have a common purpose here. We all want to deliver public safety — in the most effective an efficient way,” Mangano said.
“And all these things that are happening, we’ll deal with it. We’ll address it one by one,” Dale added.
Residents losing their neighborhood precinct aren’t so confident.
“Maybe on paper it sounded good, but you’ll see what happens,” one person said.
“You gotta find someplace else to cut the corners,” another person said.
“It’s gonna be hard keeping it safe around here — for the kids and schools,” added Esha Rambarran of Elmont.
Union leaders dispute that figure and warn crime could increase if the precincts are closed.
“There were thousands upon thousands of people who’ve said this is a bad idea, yet they continue to vote this into law,” Police Benevolent Association President James Carver said.
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