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Sources: Nassau police transfer plainclothes officers back to uniform

Nassau plainclothes officers were reassigned to uniform patrol Thursday as a county cost-saving measure expected to last at least through the year, two sources told Newsday Wednesday night.

The estimated 45 plainclothes Nassau police officers will return to patrol duty by order of acting Commissioner Thomas Krumpter, a source said.

The order affects only plainclothes officers who are currently assigned to precincts, a source said. The officers will remain in those precincts but will return to uniformed duty, a source said. The move ensures the department maintains its contractually mandated minimum-staffing requirements, which spell out how many officers must work each shift in each precinct.

"A certain number of cars have to be on the street," the source said. "You have to manage crime and the budget. There's a balancing act there."

Under the contract, if the number of officers regularly working falls under the minimum staffing requirement, the department must pay officers overtime to fill the posts.

Plainclothes officers often address quality-of-life crimes and misdemeanors and can be deployed to counter suspicious activities in neighborhoods.

Attempts to reach Nassau Police Benevolent Association president James Carver, Krumpter and other police and county officials were unsuccessful Wednesday night. The department had no comment.

Nassau police officials, struggling with budget woes in the past, have made similar moves. In May 1991, trying to cut $20 million from its budget, the department announced it was transferring 108 officers on special enforcement details back to regular patrol cars.

With Ellen Yan

and Candice Ruud

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