Precinct merger still a concern for residents
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Krumpter explained that the NCPD had 177 sector cars prior to the precinct reduction, and that has remained unchanged. In fact, he said, “By consolidating the 4th and 5th precincts at this point, we’ve added 10 additional special units” — four Problem Oriented Policing officers, four members of the Arrest Response Team and two members of the Precinct Enforcement Patrol. Cleary decides where to dispatch the special units in the enlarged 4th Precinct.
Overall, the department will add approximately 45 special units through the precinct plan, Krumpter said, adding that they would mostly deal with quality-of-life issues, like stop signs and graffiti. “By putting these additional special units back in,” he said, “it allows us to deal with those issues a lot more easily than when we didn’t have them.”
Krumpter made it clear, however, that jobs had been cut at the administrative level. Instead of having separate commanding officers and deputy commanding officers, Cleary and Psionas now handle the workload for the combined precinct. Since September 2008, Krumpter said, the department has cut its administrative staff from 72 to 34.
“The risk here is not the public safety,” he said. “The risk has always been administrative risk — how we handle paperwork, how we deal with the time officers, how we deal with the summons activity. That’s where the risks are, and those are where we’re going to have to make our adjustments.”
Dean Losquadro, a trustee for the 5th Precinct who has served on the force for 25 years, said that the reduction in administrators slows down the policing process, including the writing of case reports and transporting prisoners. “It’s a recipe for disaster,” he said.
County Legislator Carrié Solages, a Democrat from Elmont who has spoken out against the precinct plan for months, said that in his recent dealings with police officers, he has noted that their morale is down due to the changes.
But Krumpter said that public safety has not changed for the worse since the 5th Precinct became a community policing center. A computer monitoring system that tracks police response times, he said, has shown no change in recent months.