October 17, 2012 | 845 views
Precinct merger still a concern for residents
Before the Nassau County Legislature voted earlier this year to merge the county Police Department’s eight precincts into four, there was heavy opposition to the plan, particularly in communities served by the 5th Precinct.
Six of the eight precincts have already been consolidated, with the 1st and 7th precincts scheduled to be merged on Nov. 1. The opposition, however, has not gone away.
On Oct. 9, Save the 5th Precinct, a group started by North Valley Stream resident Milagros Vicente, hosted a community forum at American Legion Post 854 in Valley Stream, at which Nassau County Police Department officials answered residents’ questions.
First Deputy Commissioner Thomas Krumpter, 4th Precinct Commanding Officer Chris Cleary and Deputy Commanding Officer Robert Psionas, and Sgt. Ed Grimm, who oversees the special units for the 4th Precinct, comprised a panel that fielded a variety of questions about the merger plan.
On Sept. 14, the 5th Precinct, in Elmont, merged with the 4th, in Hewlett. The merger was initially scheduled for Sept. 1, but was delayed to allow for the installment of trailers to house additional staff and equipment at 4th Precinct headquarters in Hewlett. The trailers cost $150,000 each, according to Krumpter.
County Executive Ed Mangano has said that the precinct plan will save the county $20 million annually. Krumpter said that the savings would be a function of staff reductions rather than a change in the use of the precincts.
The 5th Precinct building, on Dutch Broadway in Elmont, was converted into what county officials are calling a “community policing center.” The precinct served Elmont, Franklin Square, Garden City South, Lakeview, Lynbrook, Malverne, South Floral Park, Valley Stream and West Hempstead.
The 4th Precinct, at 199 Broadway in Hewlett, serves the Five Towns, Atlantic Beach, East Rockaway, Bay Park, Island Park, Lido Beach, Long Beach, Oceanside and Point Lookout.
At the forum, Vicente read questions written by residents of Valley Stream and nearby communities to the police officials. Many of them dealt with how the communities formerly served by the 5th Precinct would be protected without a traditional police headquarters.