Nassau County police reopened their Fifth Precinct station house in Elmont on Monday morning, two years after it was downgraded to a “community policing center” during a controversial precinct consolidation, officials said.
Elected officials, police union leaders and community members who cheered the reopening urged police brass to also reopen the Sixth Precinct in Great Neck and Eighth Precinct in Levittown, but the county’s top cop quickly shot those hopes down.
“I wouldn’t say anything’s definitive, but at this point in time there are no plans to reopen the Sixth or the Eighth precincts,” Acting Nassau County Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter told reporters Monday during a news conference in the Fifth Precinct lobby.
The police department, with legislative approval, planned to cut the number of precincts from eight to four in 2012, but police put the brakes on the plan before consolidating the last two—the First Precinct in Baldwin and the Seventh Precinct in Seaford—after Superstorm Sandy.
James Carver, president of the Nassau County Police Benevolent Association, the union that represents rank-and-file officers, was among the loudest critics of the consolidation, but praised the department for partially reversing its mergers.
“If you make a decision, that doesn’t mean you have to stick by that decision forever,” he said, noting that officers continued patrolling sectors within Fifth Precinct boundaries despite the consolidation. “This was the right thing to do.”
Nassau County Legis. Carrié Solages (D-Elmont) took credit for helping broker the legislative deal that led to the reopening of the Fifth Precinct, which had been merged with the Fourth Precinct in Hewlett.
“By having our precinct back, we’re going to have that visibility, that presence and strong vision and perception of keeping our neighborhood safe,” he said.
Krumpter said that the consolidation saved $10 million over the past two years—half of the amount that Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano touted upon proposing the plan. The commissioner added that reopening the precinct would not add to the police budget and was made possible “by moving some administrative positions around.” Opening the other two precincts, he noted, would cost $10 million.