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Letters: Ticketing slow-down in Nassau

A Nassau police car (Jan. 30, 2012)

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

In your recent front-page report on the Nassau County Police Department's ticket-writing, all I can say is, what does it really matter ["Ticket-writing slowdown," News, Sept. 24]?

With so many red-light cameras installed all over the county, Nassau is raking in millions.

In 2011, Nassau County paid a contractor $8.3 million to operate the cameras, and the program brought in $28 million. Who needs police writing tickets? Cut the staff even more, and let the cameras do most of the work. They do not require a pension, health care benefits or high salaries.

Vincent A. La Porta, New Hyde Park

One of the biggest reasons that Nassau County finances are in the toilet is the cost of its police department. The average salary of a sworn police officer in Nassau County is $116,000 without overtime, and the county is one of the lowest-crime areas in the country. And they are unhappy with low morale?

The 160 identified officers who allegedly participated in an illegal ticket-writing slowdown that cost Nassau needed revenue not only should be fired, but they should be fined as well.

Thousands of Long Islanders would love to have their jobs at half that pay. Unhappy about a wage freeze? I haven't seen a raise in years and I'm happy to have my job. Unhappy about downsized precincts? That's called economizing, which all businesses and municipalities have to do these days. Unhappy about the prospect of paying part of their health care premium? Hey, welcome to America in 2012.

Steve Haar, Bayville

Now I've seen everything! The Nassau County police have found a new way to screw the taxpayers. A slowdown of traffic tickets because they have an unhappy workforce?

Because of their guaranteed jobs and their unions, they can do whatever they want and then receive "counseling." Perhaps they should take early retirement and deal with their morale problem.

I've heard of morale problems in the military, for soldiers facing combat, not seeing their families and watching their buddies die. These police officers made the entire force look bad. They should be fired, and held accountable for their actions.

Marlene D'Amelia, Hicksville

Ticket writing is down, and the police department wonders why? The downsizing was a bad idea from the start, and anyone who couldn't see that it would hurt morale and law enforcement was kidding themselves.

Department officials say that the number of officers on patrol remains relatively unchanged, and they are correct. However, they don't mention if calls for service have increased. Less time not on calls equals less time to write summonses.

The department is also ignoring the fact that it has decimated special assignment units. This has had a major impact. Without special patrols, the cop on the street is tasked with picking up that slack, leaving little down time for writing tickets.

Eliminating special patrols also eliminates the opportunity that an officer has to move up or find a niche within the job, which is probably one of the biggest influences on activity. If you want to go somewhere, you have to produce.

Show me anyone in any profession who has no opportunity for advancement or to use their skills, and I'll show you someone who just goes through the motions.

Maureen Stewart, Hauppauge

Editor's note: The writer is a retired Nassau County police officer.