Mangano: Nassau not actively seeking a police commissioner

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Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano on Jan. 10, 2014. Photo Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

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Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano is not pursuing his search for a new police commissioner -- but he also isn't ready to permanently appoint his acting top cop to the post.

In an interview Thursday, Mangano cited continued reductions in countywide crime rates and the ongoing nature of current department initiatives, such as attempts to reduce overtime, in saying that he did not want a leadership change.

"We're not actively looking for a police commissioner," Mangano said, months after he pledged a nationwide search.

Acting Commissioner Thomas Krumpter, a 22-year department veteran, has headed the 2,200-officer police force since January. He also negotiated the labor deals, approved in May, that ended a three-year union wage freeze instituted by Nassau's state fiscal control board.

The county executive, who previously said that his search for a commissioner would be delayed until after the labor deals were finalized, also indicated he wasn't satisfied with the quality of applicants he had received. Mangano in December had said he was looking to hire a "disciplinarian" from outside the department.

"During the selection process, there was no single applicant that fulfilled the criteria we were looking for," he said.

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Asked why Krumpter isn't already the police commissioner, Mangano said: "It's been my experience that [people in] 'acting' titles try harder."

A police spokesman said Thursday that Krumpter was unavailable for an interview and did not respond to emailed questions. Krumpter earns $237,265 as a first deputy commissioner, according to the county comptroller's office.

The former New York City public housing cop became acting leader at a time of turmoil for Nassau. In December, Mangano forced out Commissioner Thomas Dale, who prosecutors said ordered the arrest of a witness in a politically charged case.

In more than six months as acting commissioner, Krumpter has sought to change the narrative of a department dogged by misconduct scandals. He oversaw the launch of a previously planned internal review board for deadly force incidents -- a level of oversight the department was lacking.

Krumpter also fired police Officer Anthony DiLeonardo, who was brought up on departmental charges for shooting an unarmed cabdriver after a night of off-duty barhopping.

This spring, Krumpter controversially ordered the temporary transfer of about 45 plainclothes cops to patrol -- hoping to save $4 million in overtime. The move was criticized by community groups and the Police Benevolent Association.

PBA President James Carver said he agreed with Mangano not yet naming Krumpter the permanent commissioner, adding that neither he nor any candidate had yet outlined a vision for rebuilding the department.

"There's still a lot of work to be done in this job," said Carver, who favors an internal commissioner candidate. "What's the plan in rebuilding? Nobody's shown me what the plan is to move this job forward."

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