Almost four years ago, Nassau County Republican leadership, faced with ever-expanding deficits, voted for a countywide police precinct merger plan, combining all eight police precincts into four. The merger plan was projected to generate annual savings of about $20 million, however, no savings ever materialized.
NYC has 77 police precincts servicing approximately 8.4 million people.
If Nassau County had a proportionate number of precincts to population there would be 12 precincts servicing its roughly 1.35 million residents. The original plan to merge precincts didn’t make much sense. Even if $20 million in savings were realized, it would account for substantially less than 1% of the County’s almost $3 billion budget. Why put at risk the very people you are supposed to protect for such a small price?
Residents were told the four closed precincts would remain open as Community Policing Centers, where residents could pick up accident reports and file claims. All this did was confuse residents, as substantial costs remained to run the facility. Was the Sixth Precinct truly closed?
The merging of the Sixth Precinct in Manhasset into the Third Precinct in Williston Park directed all arrests to be processed at the Third Precinct. That left the entire area under Nassau police jurisdiction north of Community drive in Manhasset with Williston Park as the closest police precinct. Few residents seem convinced this was a move that would make them safer. This was confirmed when a poll on the Port Washington Patch website had over 91% of respondents vote yes to the question. “Do you think the Sixth Precinct should reopen?”
I attended both rallies to reopen the Sixth Precinct in Manhasset, held in March and May of this year. At the March rally, Manhasset resident Sue Auriemma was spot on when she said, “We were told that it was going to be a money saving move, and we have yet to see that proven in writing.” At the May rally, Sea Cliff Mayor Bruce Kennedy, concerned about the perceived increase in crime in his community said, “The bad guys know it,” referring to the police not having the resources to patrol his village.
Nassau PBA President James Carver was also at the May rally. He brought picture after picture of the Sixth Precinct suffering from neglect and disrepair. The few remaining officers at the Sixth Precinct shouldn’t have to do their jobs under substandard conditions.
The purpose of any government is the safety and welfare of its citizens. The merging of Nassau’s police precincts is the antithesis of this. After substantial community pressure in Elmont, last year their Fifth Precinct was reopened. It’s time for the Sixth Precinct to reopen too. Nassau residents, under the heavy burden of some of the highest taxes in the country, deserve better.
Adam Haber is the Democratic Candidate for NYS Senate District #7.