Written by Rich Forestano Friday, 06 May 2011 00:00
Amid the rampant rumors about the future structure of the Nassau County Police Department, Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano attended last Tuesday’s Mineola Chamber of Commerce meeting at Piccola Bussola. He detailed the current economic “structure” of Nassau County, highlighted happenings in the county and responded to recent rumors of the changes coming to the NCPD.
Mineola Mayor Scott Strauss was in attendance and inquired about the current and future status of the Third Precinct. Recent reports have stated that the Third Precinct might shut its doors. Mangano put an end to what he called a misconception.
Mangano stated that he couldn’t address every rumor and that he didn’t want to “piecemeal” out a plan that has not been completed with, “its i’s dotted and t’s crossed.”
“There will be a plan that reduces costs in association with our police department,” he said. “We had successfully decreased management in the police department by 125, put more cops on the streets and saved taxpayers over $20 million. And to boot, crime is down nearly 11 percent.”
Mangano stated further that there would not be a closure of the Third Precinct. However, there may be changes to how the NCPD operates.
“I can tell you that,” he stated. “We’ll certainly get that plan out there, mostly administrative changes which will save taxpayer dollars.”
The county executive said the endgame is to save residents money and maintain public safety. He called the county the safest county in the country and reiterated his statement that the Third Precinct will not close.
The changes coming to the NCPD will not just affect one precinct, according to Mangano. The changes would be widespread.
“I can’t comment on the plan because it’s not out there yet,” Mangano said. “The plan will not affect just one precinct.”
Mayor Strauss has discussed the rumors of the changes within the NCPD at recent board meetings. Those discussions have mainly pertained to the rumored elimination of the POP (Problem Oriented Police) unit, which Strauss has called the last semblance of a beat cop in a community.
“There will not be an elimination of the POP program,” Mangano stated. “That’s another rumor that’s been circulating. There may be some adjustments to it, as there may be some adjustments to every unit the police department has whether it be different methods we use and again those methods are designed to increase public safety.”
Strauss commented the POP program gives communities a face to remember and a comfort if an issue needs addressing. Mineola’s POP officer is Ray Sikorski.
“I’m a big proponent of efficiency and I certainly appreciate learning to understand what you’re going through on a smaller scale,” Strauss said. “The POP program is essential to local communities. We get to reach out to that officer and have a face-to-face interaction, which we don’t usually get with officers that are in the precinct here and are on patrol.
“The [regular police force] does not have the time to address some of the quality of life issues we have here,” Strauss continued. “The POP program addresses those issues.”