Nassau Presiding Officer Peter Schmitt (R-Massapequa) has turned down a demand from Democratic legislators to hold a hearing on the underreporting of serious crimes in parts of the county.

Schmitt wrote in a hand-delivered letter to three Democrats on the county legislature's Public Safety Committee that police Commissioner Thomas Dale had responded to the misclassification of crime reports "in a swift, comprehensive and transparent fashion. Accordingly . . . I have no intention of scheduling a hearing on this matter at this time."

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Last week, the police department demoted Insp. Thomas DePaola to captain in the patrol division for mishandling about 170 crime reports between January 2011 and mid-July, mostly at the Sixth Precinct in Manhasset, but also at the Fifth Precinct in Elmont.

The Democrats had questioned whether the falsified statistics undermine the administration's justification for consolidating the county's eight precincts into four this year.

Schmitt responded that the consolidation was based on many factors, including the investment of more than $200 million in police infrastructure and technology over the past decade.