Officials: Up to 10 cops in new Nassau policing centers
New community policing centers in Nassau will have up to 10 police officers on duty at most times of the day instead of the two that county officials originally had proposed, police officials said Tuesday.
The staffing levels are part of agreements worked out between police unions and County Executive Edward Mangano after he announced his plan to reduce Nassau's eight precincts to four, with the remainder becoming community policing centers that would not process arrests. The administration says the realignment will save more than $20 million a year by cutting 100 officers from the force, while protecting public safety by reassigning desk cops to neighborhood crime prevention.
The staffing levels were part of discussions Monday that delayed a vote in the county legislature for a retirement incentive that is key to the precinct reorganization. The incentive plan that lawmakers approved seeks to encourage highly paid police officers to retire.
Tuesday, members of the largest police union, the Police Benevolent Association, unanimously ratified the incentive agreement. The two other police unions agreed to the retirement plan on Monday.
While police did not provide a precise number of officers who would be on duty at the community centers at any one time, First Deputy Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter said Tuesday that having up to 10 officers at each was "always a part of our working model."
But administration officials have said repeatedly that the centers would be staffed by two officers around the clock.
"They kept saying the plan would save money and put more police on the streets, but the only permanent positions they talked about for the centers were two desk officers," said Kevan Abrahams (D-Freeport), the legislature's minority leader.
Monday, as part of an effort to get an incentive plan that required some minority legislators' support, Mangano and the unions signed a memorandum of agreement that backed his vow to keep the same number of police patrols.
"We wanted it in writing," Abrahams said.
The staffing complement at the community policing centers will include two desk officers on duty on each of two 12-hour shifts, Krumpter said. There will also be two detectives assigned during each of two 10-hour shifts.
Krumpter said there could be as many as 10 officers assigned to each center, along with ambulance and emergency medical technicians. On each 10-hour shift, there will be at least two supervisors and two Problem-Oriented Police (POP) officers who respond to community concerns.
Currently, between 40 and 50 officers work in precincts but many are out on patrol during their shifts.
With Celeste Hadrick