Budget cuts 'handcuff' Lynbrook P.D.
Herald file photo
County Budget cuts have forced the Lynbrook Police Department to be more proactive in training its own officers.
Nassau County’s recent budget problems have affected all of its operations, including its police department, which has, in turn, had an impact on operations at the Lynbrook Police Department as well as in Lynbrook schools.
All Nassau residents pay a county “police headquarters tax,” even if they live in a village with its own police department. The tax covers county detective work, training, aviation and marine units as well as other services the county police provide. Cutbacks have reduced the availability of these services, leaving village police departments to pick up the slack at villagers’ expense.
Brian Paladino, the Lynbrook P.D.’s training sergeant, said that the biggest impact of the cuts can be seen in the county Police Department’s special services and officer training. He explained that the county helps with the Lynbrook department’s felony and juvenile caseload as well as special-victims cases, and aids the Village’s Crimes Against Property Squad as well.
“What the cuts have done have really handcuffed those specialized units, and made those services very general and very tough to get,” Paladino said. “Where we’ve seen our biggest problems are the specialized units that we’ve paid for with our county taxes. The bill has remained the same, but the services are not as great anymore. It’s a lack of people, more or less. When those bodies aren’t there, and the needs arise, it’s not there like it used to be.”
Emergency services such as helicopters — which the county is supposed to provide — are not as quick to respond as they once were, Paladino said, adding that New York City Police Department helicopters could be the village’s first call in an emergency because they would be more likely get to the scene first.
Special services offered by the county often have little effect on crime trends in Lynbrook, Paladino said. “When we get an epidemic of something or a crime pattern,” he said, “it gets that much harder to [reduce] it because of the lack of resources” — meaning not just money, but experienced crime solvers.