In an exchange with public officials, East Meadow residents heard about the impacts of cost-cutting at Nassau County jail -- while others complained about pedestrian safety on state roads.
At the Merrick Avenue Civic Association's meeting, John Jaronczyk, president of the Nassau County Sheriff Officers Association, the union that represents 1,000 officers at the Nassau County Correctional Center, slammed recent cuts at the facility.
He said demotion of supervisory staff, reduction of officer training and the hiring of a private health care provider have made it more dangerous for inmates, visitors and correction officers at the jail in East Meadow, which holds about 1,500 inmates.
"When you start cutting back on safety, that is when you put the public at risk," Jaronczyk said about conditions at the jail.
In a statement Thursday, Nassau Sheriff Michael Sposato defended his decisions and safety at the jail. He said that while annual in-service training has been reduced for this year, mandated training continues. About 30 corporals were demoted to the rank of correction officer, but no reductions were made in inmate housing, he added.
"The facility is being operated in a safe and secure manner," Sposato said. "I have full faith in the abilities and capabilities of the staff at the correctional center, including the medical services provider."
Also at the meeting, representatives from the state transportation department heard residents' concerns about traffic and pedestrian safety.
Catherine Kropf Harris, of Levittown, expressed frustration, saying that transportation studies are conducted, but nothing seems to get done despite letter-writing and petitions signed.
She spoke about her two-year-long quest -- on behalf of her senior parents -- to get traffic signals at Newbridge Road (Route 106) and Second Avenue in East Meadow.
DOT spokeswoman Eileen Peters said Thursday the agency is installing two new traffic signals at the intersection, part of a construction project scheduled to begin in the next few weeks.