During a June 2009 event in Port Washington, pharmacist Joe...

During a June 2009 event in Port Washington, pharmacist Joe Brocavich of Lynbrook checks drugs that had been turned in as part of a STOP campaign. Credit: Newsday / Joe Epstein

A series of hazardous waste disposal events slated for this year across North Hempstead, Oyster Bay and the Town of Hempstead will mark the first time the Nassau County Police Department won’t be on hand.

In 2015 and 2016, county officers were a mainstay at Stop Throwing Out Pollutants, known as STOP events. The program gives Nassau residents a place to bring and properly dispose of harmful chemicals like aerosols, thermostats, lithium batteries and disinfectants. Nassau police were there to collect unused and outdated prescription medicine.

However, officers will no longer attend the events — which are funded by the towns with grant money from the state Department of Environmental Conservation — and instead will provide disposal bins at precincts for residents to drop off prescriptions.

A police official said officers’ presence at the events was costing the department too much money.

“After assessing the police department’s involvement in the STOP program, it was decided that we could offer more availability while incurring significant less costs to our residents by placing medical waste containers in our precincts since they are always open,” said Det. Lt. Richard LeBrun, adding that the community affairs department notified towns via phone or email about the change.

Suffolk County also offers bins for residents to surrender unused prescriptions at all seven of its precincts. In August 2014, the New York Police Department began offering the same service on Staten Island and is working to expand it to other boroughs.

The Nassau department’s decision has garnered mixed reactions from towns officials.

In Hempstead, spokesman Mike Deery said “the town is satisfied that neighbors will continue to be able to use this service at local police precincts.”

However, in North Hempstead, Supervisor Judi Bosworth said having officers at STOP events allowed for “an easy and convenient way to dispose of old pharmaceuticals.”

“It’s unfortunate that due to staffing concerns municipalities across Nassau County, including the Town of North Hempstead, will no longer be able to accept pharmaceuticals at drop-off events,” Bosworth said.

Town of Oyster Bay spokeswoman Marta Kane emphasized that residents still have a place to dispose of unused prescriptions.

“The town feels very fortunate to have enjoyed a partnership with Nassau County police over the years in providing a successful pharmaceutical disposal service to our residents,” she said.

In Oyster Bay, the next STOP events are April 8 and May 6, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Solid Waste Complex in Old Bethpage.

North Hempstead has scheduled STOP events on April 8 and 9, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at North Hempstead Beach Park. Residents can bring sensitive documents for shredding and drop off gently used clothing, toys and household items for Big Brothers Big Sisters.

The Town of Hempstead has its next STOP event on April 30, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the City Hall Parking Lot in Long Beach.

Latest videos