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Levittown residents question Nassau police plan

Nassau County police cars outside the Fifth Precinct

Nassau County police cars outside the Fifth Precinct in Elmont. The Fifth is one of four precincts that the county executive plans to convert to a "community policing center." (Jan. 30, 2012) Credit: Howard Schnapp

A Levittown meeting billed as a Neighborhood Watch Community Forum turned into a question-and-answer session on the new plan for Nassau County’s police precincts.

About 80 residents in the Division Avenue High School auditorium Thursday night heard Legis. Dennis Dunne (R-Levittown) and officers from the Eighth Precinct give an update on policing efforts of the 3-year-old Neighborhood Watch program, of which many in the audience were members.

When Chief Deputy County Executive Rob Walker and Deputy Police Chief Thomas Krumpter took the stage to discuss the county’s precinct plan — which would turn four current station houses, including the Eighth in Levittown, into “community policing centers” staffed by two officers — they encountered skepticism.

Several residents said they didn’t understand where the alleged $20 million in savings would come from and how this plan would put more officers on the street while decreasing staff.

“The plan doesn’t call for layoffs,” Krumpter explained, “it calls for natural attrition.” He added that every year around 100 cops leave the Nassau police force through attrition, and that the average cost of a Nassau cop including pension and benefits is $200,000 per year.

“We will eliminate 156 spots,” Krumpter said, noting that 48 administrative officers would become POP — problem-oriented police — cops, an announcement that was met with crowd approval.

Krumpter said he and Walker gave the same talk to neighborhood groups every day last week, often staying late to take questions. The Levittown talk was their fourth on Thursday alone, he said.

After the two-hour meeting, resident Sally Taylor said the plan sounded better, having been explained by a public official. “I think they have the community’s interest at heart,” said Taylor, a retired legal secretary. “I think it may well be for the best.”

 

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