Nassau Republican legislators have asked County Executive Laura Curran to reopen the 8th police precinct, which covers North Wantagh, and the 6th precinct in Manhasset — both of which were reduced to less-staffed community policing centers as part of a department-wide merger to cut costs in 2012.
On June 25, the Legislative majority sent a letter to Curran, stating the request was unrelated to the “ongoing extraordinary efforts” of Nassau police. Instead, the letter stated, “Community outcry and the recent trend in opioid use and addiction has led this delegation to believe that reintroducing the two precincts will optimally benefit Nassau County residents.”
“Greater accessibility and increased police activity will curb complaints regarding the availability of the police department within the community and assist in fighting the opioid epidemic which has devastated Nassau County in recent years,” the letter went on to say.
Asked for comment on the request, Mike Martino, Curran’s communications director, said: “The 8th Precinct was closed by the Mangano Administration as a cost-saving measure. However, any and all services available at the former 8th Precinct still exist. No patrols have been affected, nor has response time. A regional supervising officer is present throughout the day, the desk is staffed 24 hours per day, and there are dozens of detectives working out of the facility. Public safety remains the number one priority of the Curran Administration and the Nassau County Police Department.”
In 2012, former County Executive Ed Mangano proposed merging the eight precincts into four, with reduced staffing at four of them, which became Community Policing Centers. Public outcry reversed one of the mergers and canceled plans for another. Just the 6th and 8th remain as centers and not precincts.
Curran, who was a member of the legislative minority during the mergers, joined her Democratic colleagues in calling for the centers to remain open as precincts. She carried the fight to her campaign for County Executive, published records show.
In closing, the letter stated “During the time you (Curran) served as legislator, you repeatedly called for these precincts to be reopened. You repeatedly stated that there was no cost savings involved with closing the precincts. Therefore there is no reason why the precincts cannot be reopened again as soon as possible.”
Unlike precincts, Community Policing Centers have a “skeleton staff” in the overnight hours.
A member of the Republican caucus, Legislator John Ferretti of Levittown, also noted that the new state-funded building that now houses the Community Policing Center on the site of the former 8th precinct, was slated in a state grant application, to be a precinct.
Curran told the Council of Greater Manhasset Civic Association during her campaign that she supports the reopening of the 6th precinct “It wouldn’t even take a lot of money,” she said.