A Nassau police car (Jan. 30, 2012)

A Nassau police car (Jan. 30, 2012) Credit: Howard Schnapp

Laurel Hollow officials plan to drop Nassau County police services in favor of Oyster Bay Cove's department -- a move officials of the neighboring villages said will control costs without sacrificing coverage.

Laurel Hollow can expect to save $450,000 in its first year with Oyster Bay Cove police, officials said at a special meeting Tuesday at a Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory auditorium.

"We're going to feel very much at home with them, and that, combined with the cost savings, I think, is a home run for the village," said Deputy Mayor Daniel DeVita during the meeting.

The board of trustees in a unanimous 7-0 vote approved a five-year contract with Oyster Bay Cove police, which plans to add four officers to its force.

Officials hope to begin the contract on June 1 to coincide with the start of the fiscal year. The start date depends in part on ending the contract with the county.

Laurel Hollow last year paid $1.65 million to Nassau County for police protection, a 12.4 percent hike over 2010, Mayor Harry Anand told about 50 residents at Tuesday's meeting. The rate this year has increased by another 3.4 percent, he said.

County coverage included a cruiser dedicated to Laurel Hollow and four officers.

Oyster Bay Cove services in their first year will cost $1.25 million, Anand said. They will include a dedicated cruiser and the sharing of 14 total members of the department, he said.

The cost is to rise over the course of the contract, but Laurel Hollow can negotiate the price, which it could not do with the county, Anand said.

Anand said the village could not predict how much Nassau County police rates might rise.

"If you've been reading about their budget issues and all the fiascos they've had, it's not going to be smooth sailing going forward," he said.

Nassau County police did not immediately respond Wednesday.

Laurel Hollow residents on Tuesday seemed to agree that Oyster Bay Cove protection would be as good as, if not better than, the county's -- especially because the two villages have similar geography and demographics.

The village hired attorney and former Nassau patrolman Michael Fleming in March 2011 to analyze its options for more cost-effective police protection. It has been negotiating with Oyster Bay Cove for about eight months.

Oyster Bay Cove Police Chief Kevin Cronin and five uniformed members of his department attended Tuesday's meeting.

"I've got a young force here," he said. "They're going to be here for a long time."

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