Officials, residents cite safety concerns
Nassau County officials came together last week to call on County Executive Ed Mangano to re-open the 6th Police Precinct. Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Judi Bosworth, accompanied by councilmembers Anna Kaplan, Lee Seeman, Peter Zuckerman and other local officials, all joined together to urge Mangano to think of the safety and quality of life of Nassau County residents.
“Four years ago when they talked about merging all the precincts, I expressed my tremendous reserve about this and I said this is not a good idea,” said Bosworth.
In 2012, Mangano announced a plan that would close half of the precincts in Nassau County to eliminate desk jobs and save taxpayers money. Legislator for the 10th District Ellen Birnbaum said this is not the case.
“As the then-director of the Office of Intermunicipal Coordination at the Town of North Hempstead, my job was to create efficiencies between governmental entities in order to save taxpayers money,” said Birnbaum. “But the merger of our 6th Precinct with the 3rd Precinct has not been proven to be a cost-saver. It was never a good idea for Nassau County to allocate resources away from our police who provide the most important service of this precinct—our public safety.”
Safety has been a major concern as residents are concerned with burglary spikes that have occurred since the consolidation of the precincts.
“Residential burglaries are up 28 percent in Nassau County for the last year,” said Bosworth. “The county is seeing an epidemic use of heroin. The combined precinct that we now have here is just too large…It’s not because of a lack of trying on the part of our great police officers. It’s just that our district is now spread too thin.”
North Hempstead Councilwoman Anna Kaplan says that people in the community often reach out to council members to report incidents that have not been dealt with accordingly.
“This is something they really believe they’re lacking and they’re asking all the representatives on the town level, on the village level and the county level to be their advocate, voice our opinions and ask for this precinct to be open,” said Kaplan.
Local resident Sue Auriemma has worked closely with the police department while with the Coalition for a Safer Manhasset. Also a representative for the Greater Council of Manhasset Civic Association, Auriemma was able to complete a 39-week class called the Citizen’s Police Academy where she developed a greater sense of how the department works.
“I understand that although Ed Mangano is saying that the number of patrols hasn’t changed and the service hasn’t changed it absolutely has, because it’s changed very much so in the back offices,” said Auriemma. “The administration is being asked to do more with less. We’ve lost more of our plainclothes officers. We went from four POP [problem-oriented policing] officers to two.”
Auriemma recalls a time when she and a friend wanted to fill out a police report and were advised by officers in the Nassau County Community Policing Center to go home and dial 911.
“For 45 minutes a car was taken out of service for a non-emergency call,” said Auriemma. “A car that should have been on the streets and if this was a fully operational precinct they would have been able to manage taking a simple police report. We pay full taxes and we deserve a fully-operational precinct and the residents demand that we get our precinct back.”
Bosworth says she will be heading to the Nassau County legislature, executive and police commissioner with her message for the people.
“It’s not a luxury,” said Bosworth. “This is a necessity to maintain our quality of life and the safety of our residents.”