Proponents of reopening the Nassau County Police Department’s Sixth Precinct in Manhasset took their fight to the Legislature Monday, decrying the building’s decrepit conditions and saying their quality-of-life has slipped since it closed in 2012 as a fully-functioning facility.
With poster-sized photos of conditions inside the precinct showing sagging ceiling panels with holes and numerous missing floor tiles as a backdrop, speakers, including Legis. Ellen Birnbaum (D-Great Neck), North Hempstead Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth and police union officials, called on County Executive Edward Mangano and acting Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter to reopen the precinct.
The precinct consolidated with the Third Precinct in Williston Park in July 2012. It’s now called a policing center and is home to the Highway Patrol Unit and a handful of civilian employees.
Rosanna Massaro, of the Manhasset Neighborhood Watch, said that since the precinct shut down, some incidents have gone unchecked, such as a homeless man living in a park bathroom and several recent burglaries in her neighborhood.
“Listen to us: the quality of service in our area is not the same. We do not feel safe!” said Massaro, who spoke before a full meeting of the Nassau Legislature. “Take the savings and reopen the sixth! Make us feel safe in our town!”
Acting Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter, who also addressed the Legislature, said there’s no plans to reopen the precinct. While Krumpter conceded there are maintenance issues, there are no health hazards, he said.
“We will always talk and address people’s concerns; Right now it isn’t in the budget, it’s not embedded in the budget,” said Krumpter, adding that it would cost $5 million to pay 25 police officers to reopen the precinct.
Brian Hoesl, president of the Superior Officers Association, disputed Krumpter’s claims.
“We closed the fifth precinct and we reopened it at no cost,” Hoesl said. “We have 50 more supervisors than we did then. I don’t understand why they can’t find the people to open that precinct. I don’t believe a word of it. They can open it at no cost to you.”
The sixth, housed in a 44-year-old building, merged with the Third Precinct in Williston Park under a countywide precinct consolidation plan to merge eight into four that was later largely disbanded.
The commissioner also vehemently pushed back against charges that crime has increased as a result of closing the sixth. Krumpter said crime in the county is down 12 percent overall since 2011. County statistics show that in the old Sixth Precinct patrol area, overall crime is down 4 percent through May 20 of this year, compared to the same time in 2015.
Those statistics however, show crime is up from a year ago in some categories, including residential burglaries, which have increased 28 percent this year through April 30 to 291 from 227 in 2015.
“I will stand on our record,” Krumpter said. “I will stand on the safety of our county and I have no problem defending it because numbers don’t lie.”
Krumpter added: “We need our legislators to be partners. They should be cheerleaders and not furthering misinformation that’s out there.”
Sea Cliff Mayor Bruce Kennedy said since the consolidation, his square-mile village, which pays $5.7 million annually to the county for police protection, has had to hire private security and beef up its code enforcement to deal with an onslaught of crime.
Early Saturday morning, brothers Nicholas Lasser, 22 and Stephen Lasser, 19, were arrested and charged with second-degree burglary for breaking into a Winding Way home in the village to steal tools, police said.
“What we are paying, we are owed more,” said Kennedy. “If the police were making regular patrols at night, the bad guys would know.”