North Hempstead Supervisor Judi Bosworth said a culture of terrorism — and last week’s shooting at the Roosevelt Field Mall — highlight a need to reverse the merger of Manhasset’s sixth precinct with the third in Williston Park.
The larger Third Precinct was formed in 2012, and authorities turned the Manhasset precinct into a smaller, police outpost. The plan drew opposition within the former sixth precinct’s North Shore communities, and Bosworth opposed the plan when she was a county legislator.
Bosworth said in an interview Monday that she accepted the merger to “give it a chance.” But her concerns about the size of the third precinct grew after the Dec. 22 shooting inside the mall’s Tourneau Store. A 21-year-old gunman attempting a robbery of the luxury watch shop wounded a 67-year-old mall worker during a struggle with a store security guard.
While acting Nassau County Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter disagreed with Bosworth, she said the response to the shooting pulled resources from the area patrolled by officers of the combined precinct.
“Now all of a sudden, we’re dealing with a precinct that has the Roosevelt Field Mall in it,” Bosworth said. “If those resources were shifted to Roosevelt Field, they weren’t here.”
In a letter sent last week to county lawmakers, Bosworth referred to recent terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California as rationale for forming separate sixth and third precincts.
“It is imminently clear that the police must have their finger on the pulse of the community to prevent such atrocities,” she wrote. “With the diminished resources in the Third precinct, that becomes less and less likely.”
Krumpter said in a statement that “the Supervisor is wrong” about her assessment of the mall shooting. “There is a Response Plan and there was no impact to the 6th precinct on that day.”
Krumpter also wrote that “Nassau County’s crime fighting tactics are successful as crime is down 25% over the past 5 years and down 6% year-to-date.”
He also said the current sixth precinct “serves residents as a Community Policing Center and there has been no change in the officers who patrol our communities. The realignment of back office operations has had no impact on public safety and anyone suggesting otherwise is simply playing political games as buildings don’t protect the public, cops do.”
Krumpter also noted that after the realignment, the sixth precinct became home to Highway Patrol. “As a result, there is a larger police presence at this building than ever before,” he said.
Still, Bosworth said “the logistics make it impossible for us to be getting the same protection we had when we had a separate, sixth precinct.”
The merger was among several the County Legislature approved in 2012 to save $20 million annually. However, county officials last year said they would undo one merger, between Hewlett’s fourth and Elmont’s fifth precincts, and scrap the scheduled one between Baldwin’s first and Seaford’s seventh precincts. The merger of Levittown’s eighth precinct with the second precinct in Woodbury was unchanged.