Maureen Beccaris has been an officer in the Nassau County Police Department’s 1st Precinct for 26 years, but for the past six months, she said, she came to work every day not knowing where she would be the next week. She explained that her office’s supplies and papers were still in boxes, waiting to be moved to Seaford when the scheduled merger of the 1st and 7th precincts took place.
But when Beccaris returned to work after a weekend of visiting colleges with her daughter two weeks ago, her coworkers greeted her with news that the 1st Precinct in Baldwin would remain open. After months of uncertainty, she said, the mood in the station house shifted to a sense of relief.
“When you work somewhere for an extended period of time, it becomes home, regardless that it’s work,” she said. “A camaraderie exists here that is hard to explain. Merging would have changed all of that.”
While some officers, elected officials and local residents were also pleased to hear that the 1st Precinct would not be absorbed by the 7th for now, the future of the department’s station house in Baldwin is still unknown.
Inspector Kenneth Lack, commanding officer of the NCPD’s public information office, said that the department’s experiences when Hurricane Sandy hit the South Shore were a contributing factor in the decision to suspend the last of four scheduled precinct mergers.
Lack explained that the 7th Precinct, at 3636 Merrick Road in Seaford, was sandbagged during the storm, and floodwaters reached the area around the station house. Although the building sustained no damage other than several shingles being blown off the roof, Lack said that the station house was inaccessible at the height of the storm. This prompted officials to reconsider the merger.
“It was mostly the storm that put things in a different light and caused the county executive and the police commissioner to re-evaluate,” he said. “The greatest storm the county has ever seen is just making us re-evaluate combining the 1st and the 7th and the location of those precincts.”