Calling it a "major experiment in policing," Nassau Legis. Tuesday condemned the party line passage of a plan
Jacobs, D-Woodbury, called the plan "something that, to my knowledge, has not been successfully tried elsewhere in the United States," and decried the lack of specifics offered by Republicans.
"The only place which did go from 12 precincts down to six was Detroit," she continued. "The change was such a fiasco that within three years all 12 precincts were, once again, functioning."
On Monday, the Legislature passed County Executive 's plan to The proposal impacts Plainview and Old Bethpage; The in Woodbury, which covers Plainview north of Old Country Road, will remain open.
in Levittown, which covers the area south of Old Country Road and includes Bethpage, is converted into a "community policing center. The specific functions of that precinct have not been articulated by the administration, Democrats say.
The precinct merger plan drew stiff opposition from the Nassau County Police Benevolent Association, whose president, Jim Carver, said it could lead to a spike in crime. "They’re taking 10 pounds of crime and putting it in a five-pound bag," Carver said."
Republicans claim the plan will save millions of dollars while putting more police officers on the street.
“We are bringing the Nassau County Police Department into the 21st Century," said Legislator Joseph Belesi, R-Farmingdale and a former Nassau County police officer. "This realignment plan will save taxpayers millions while adding 48 police officers back onto the street. There will be no reduction in Nassau’s public safety."
“Nassau County is – and will remain – one of the safest counties in this nation," said Peter Schmitt, R-Massapequa, the Legislature's Presiding Officer. "This plan maintains the same number of police vehicles patrolling the county...."
Democrats counter that the Republicans have not shown how the cost savings will actually happen or provided other vital details.
"Unfortunately, the matter passed 10-9, along party lines in spite of the fact that the administration and unions were of the passage," Jacobs said. "What was the rush to judgment before the facts were in hand?"
"There never was a full discussion on this plan or, in fact, on the precincts’ purpose," Jacobs said. "How does this plan impact all the functions of a precinct for a community?
Jacobs agrees with the Republicans that there is an uneven workload among the eight precincts. She argued that Legislators should have been asked to realign the precinct's workload, not simply consolidate the existing ones.
A community activist and retired New York City police office said the precinct merger itself may not pose a problem for effective police patrols and enforcement.
"I think if the (patrol) sectors remain the same, the coverage should stay the same," said Patrick Crudo, president of the South Syosset Neighborhood Watch.
"They may change the way they hand in their written reports, but with new technology, that can probably be done in other ways....
When the public calls for help, Crudo said "assistance is going to come."
Still, Crudo has concerns:
"It's too soon to tell if it will work," he said. "It's untested and we don't know how they're going to implement it."
The lack of specific information on the merger plan is what Jacobs said is the primary problem with the rush to implement it.
"I voted 'no' to this consolidation due to the fact that we were provided no background information as to the impacts, no MOU (Memorandum of Understanding), no MOA (Memorandum of Agreement) and no breakdown of costs (both monetary and human)," Jacobs said. "All of this would be crucial to have in order to vote on something this massive in an informed manner."