A file photo of a Nassau police car at a...

A file photo of a Nassau police car at a crime scene in Elmont. (June 23, 2010) Credit: James A. Escher

Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano's proposed budget cuts will decimate the Nassau County police department by dismantling key areas such as the Heroin Task Force, Nassau Democrats charged Monday.

"You're supposed to use a scalpel to make fine cuts and know what you're doing and do your homework before you make them, rather than with a hatchet when you could literally cut away the heart of the county," Legis. Judy Jacobs (D-Woodbury) said at a news conference outside police headquarters in Mineola.

She added that "cutting the Heroin Task Force leaves all of us speechless. It just doesn't even seem like a dose of reality. It seems like a dose of fantasy."

Brian Nevin, a senior aide to Mangano, responded, "It's a shame that the Democrats are distorting the facts and playing politics with public safety. County Executive Mangano has assigned 49 more officers to patrol over last year's levels and has invested resources in technological enhancements to help fight crime.

"That's why crime is down 7 percent this year -- on top of the 10 percent drop in crime last year. The Democrats are simply carrying water for the police unions who want even more tax dollars from Nassau homeowners."

Acting Nassau Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter said earlier this month that the task force focuses more on prescription drugs than heroin now, and member officers would be dispersed to other units.

Mangano's budget calls for redrawing the boundaries of all police precincts, closing two of the eight and expanding six others. That is aimed at helping to close a projected $310 million county deficit for 2012.

No officers on patrol would be cut, but the layoff of 81 commanders, detectives and others on administrative duty would save $15 million.

Jacobs said the county could save "millions" in other ways, such as eliminating many of the 216 cars she said are assigned to county employees who take them home.

In response, Nevin said, "Reducing the number of vehicles would not make a dent in the $618 million in excessive spending the county Democrats added to government over the past decade. With that being said, County Executive Mangano has already reduced the number of take-home vehicles and will continue to reduce wasteful spending in Nassau County."

The Democrats also criticized other Mangano proposals such as eliminating the Problem Oriented Police program, which puts more officers in high-crime areas.

"This budget means we are jeopardizing public safety and reducing our quality of life," said Legis. Dave Denenberg (D-Merrick). "Eliminating two precincts and essential special patrols such as heroin, DWI, anti-gang, traffic enforcement and undercover units means less police presence on the streets, less enforcement and more risk to our residents. It's a good budget for the bad guys and a bad budget for Nassau County residents."

But Krumpter said Monday, "Nassau is the safest large county in the nation as we have significantly reduced crime since 2010. In fact, crime is down 14 percent over the last year and a half.

"The county has and will continue to find more efficient and effective ways to combat crime utilizing technological enhancements . . . Let's all remember, buildings don't protect people. Cops protect people."

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