Port’s police comissioner candidates clash on future of headquarters

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Port’s police comissioner candidates clash on future of headquarters
Lifelong Port Washington resident Frank Scobbo (right) defeated incumbent Dave Franklin (left) to serve on the Port Washington Police District Board of Commissioners. (Photos courtesy of Dave Franklin and Frank Scobbo)

Dave Franklin and Frank Scobbo are running for commissioner of the Port Washington Police District and are clashing over the need for a new headquarters building.

Franklin, who is finishing his third three-year term as commissioner, has called for a new building, while Scobbo said the current building should be upgraded.

Franklin said he understands the importance of listening to the public.

“Not just hearing suggestions, but really listening to what residents have to say is critical to success in this role,” he said. “In this position, this is where you should have the most contact with people in the area. If they have a problem they should get in touch with me.”

A Port Washington resident for the past 32 years, Franklin said he loves the town and the people that drive it.

While three decades may seem like an extensive time to live in one area, Scobbo’s family has roots in the area for three generations.

“My family is entrenched in the history of this town,” Scobbo said. “The family history here dates back to the early 1900s. So I am definitely a deep-rooted member of this community.”

Scobbo has served as a 30-year member of the Fire Department, serving as captain from 2011-12. He also served as a special police officer in the district from 1994 to1996 and sergeant from 1996 to 1998. With a family history stretching over 100 years in the area and experience in the public service sector, he believes he is ready to take the next step.

“For 30 years I have put my life on the line for the residents of Port Washington,” Scobbo said. “Whether it was fighting fires or responding to medical emergencies, I was ready to help. Now I am ready to fight to ensure that the police district is run with transparency and fiscal responsibility.”

When it comes to fiscal responsibility, Franklin believes that the past nine years should speak for themselves. He mentioned some changes that were implemented during his tenure that have saved money for taxpayers.

“We have been cutting costs where necessary while still prioritizing the well-being of our officers,” Franklin said. “We have a great administrative team in place, a four-year deal with the Police Benevolent Association, we recently just went paperless, and we even changed salary structures to alleviate taxpayer funds.”

If elected, Scobbo’s preliminary focus would be to work with the two other commissioners while continuing to save, and lessen the tax burden on the district’s residents. He said that part of why he is running is to focus on the needs versus the wants of the public.

“At the end of the day, I believe we all want the same thing here, which is to prioritize the well-being of our officers,” Scobbo said. “But I think that there are different ways of doing that. Mr. Franklin wants a new building to be constructed, and I don’t believe that is necessary right now.”

The headquarters building, at 500 Port Washington Blvd., was constructed over 60 years ago, initially equipped for around 30 members. Now, with 65 officers working each day, Franklin highlighted some of the aspects within the building that can be classified as safety hazards.

“Ever since I initially ran for the position in 2010, I have harked on the need for a new building,” Franklin said. “There are wires hanging out of the ceilings and many of our decorated officers have complained about this. We need to stop putting Band-Aids on things and keep the future in mind.”

He also said that many who come in to inspect the conditions of the building “cannot believe” what they see.

However, Scobbo said that representatives from the Public Employee Safety and Health Bureau regularly inspect the building and have given it a passing grade each time.

“I’m not saying we have to ignore the building conditions,” Scobbo said. “The past seven years taxpayer dollars have been spent on improving the physical infrastructure on the building, and not those wires. We can accomplish those upgrades without burdening the taxpayers with a new building.”

Both candidates spoke of being proactive rather than reactive. Aside from the safety and protection of the police officers, a new building would be a priority for Franklin if he is re-elected. Scobbo said he is looking to gain federal grants for upgrades to relieve the stress on residents’ wallets.

“It has been an absolute honor to serve as commissioner of this incredible group of people in the police force and in our town,” Franklin said. “I listen to the public, and the public knows I am here for them. Anything that I can do to make Port Washington better, I will.”

“Local elections are when the residents have the most power to decide what happens in their own backyard,” Scobbo said. “If I am elected, I will ensure that our Police Department has all the resources necessary to keep doing a fantastic job.”

Both candidates will speak at a forum hosted by the League of Women Voters of Port Washington-Manhasset a week before the election. The forum will be held on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at the Port Washington Public Library at 1 Library Drive.

The election will take place on Tuesday, Dec. 10, from noon to 9 p.m. in the Polish American Hall at 5 Pulaski Place in Port Washington.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Just to be clear, the new building is not my main focus. It is a necessity, but as always our priority is the best service and protection for our residents for the best possible price.

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