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Letter: ‘Opposing the Closing of Our Police Precincts’

I have attended meetings about the precinct closings at the Nassau County Legislature, testified at the Public Safety Hearing during public comment and listened to a presentation about the plan held at the East Meadow Library.  The plan to close four precincts is not a cost savings plan or a safety oriented plan. Taxes will not be reduced through these police cuts; however, services and our quality of life will be compromised.

There will be less police presence in our community. The commanders of the four precincts will have to preside over twice the areas. Delay and backlog will occur in the administrative processing time of arrests, mandating overtime. The processing of arrests will initially have to go through these four precincts, even if the proposed idea of a centralized Arrest Processing Center is available. Each precinct has an average of 2000 arrests per year and processing time will be doubled. The ability to focus on the unique problems and trouble spots in one community will become less of a priority.

Burglaries of homes in Nassau County surged nearly 111 percent in the first six weeks of 2012. Special Patrols, such as the P.O.P. (Problem Oriented Policing) Officers, will no longer be on patrol in our neighborhoods and instead be used to help staff the closed precincts (Community Policing Centers). The plan only provides for two police officers to be staffed 24/7 at the Community Policing Centers. The Community Policing Centers will have to be renovated and these costs have not been factored into the plan.

According to the Independent Legislative Budget Review Office, the costs savings of this plan is not $20 million and predicted to be much less. The plan doesn’t address additional costs such as the renovation of the buildings, overtime and a termination liability of over $21 million in debt service expense, triggered by a voluntary retirement incentive program. The numbers don’t add up, no savings will be realized and our safety is being put at risk.  

Pat Maher