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High-ranking Nassau cop quits

A file photo of the Nassau County Police

A file photo of the Nassau County Police Department building in Mineola. (Feb. 28,2006) Credit: Newsday/Karen Wiles Stabile

After less than four months on the job, a high-ranking assistant to the new Nassau County police commissioner has suddenly quit.

The assistant, John Quinn -- hired in February to be a $150,000-per-year assistant commissioner -- left earlier this month, citing "personal reasons," according to department spokesman Insp. Kenneth Lack.

The department declined to elaborate on those reasons, and Quinn couldn't be reached Tuesday.

One law enforcement source said: "He wasn't asked to leave. It wasn't suggested he leave. It was on his own volition that he left."

No one has been chosen to take over Quinn's responsibilities, which the department said in March include reviewing the police department's administrative structure and work rules in the wake of numerous disciplinary scandals.

Hired in February, Quinn's last day was May 9, the department said.

Quinn, a former NYPD lieutenant, was one of two outsiders recruited by the new commissioner, Thomas Dale, himself a 41-year veteran of the NYPD, before he took the top-cop job earlier this year.

The other assistant commissioner is Robert Hart, the former head of the FBI's Long Island field office, who is tasked with handling internal disciplinary matters. Hart remains on the job.

Quinn had worked with Dale when Dale was in the NYPD's office of the chief of personnel, a position from which Dale retired.

The hiring of Quinn and Hart ignited criticism in February from Nassau Democrats and police labor unions because their salaries together would be $300,000 at a time when the police force was seeking to downsize four precincts to save money.

The department had responded that their compensation would be offset by retirements and attrition.

"It is critical to bring in an experienced upper management team to assist me in keeping Nassau the safest large county in the U.S., as well as maintaining the morale and discipline of the Nassau County Police Department," Dale said at the time.