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Local Legislators Say Precinct Merger Will Keep County Safe

Schmitt and Belesi vote with majority on precinct merger.

Massapequa's two legislators both played a key role in Monday's vote to merge eight of Nassau County's police precincts into four.

The was 10-9 to approve the merger, as each legislator voted along Party lines.

Legis. Peter Schmitt, R-Massapequa, the Legislature's Presiding Officer and the leader of the legislative majority, insisted the vote won't change the quality of police protection in the county.

“Nassau County is – and will remain – one of the safest counties in this nation," he said. "This plan maintains the same number of police vehicles patrolling the county and adds 48 officers back onto the streets.  I have full confidence that Police Commissioner Dale will maintain the high quality police protection that our residents deserve.”

The precinct merger plan drew stiff opposition from the Nassau County Police Benevolent Association, whose president Jim Carver that 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.

One local lawmaker who was very much in the spotlight on this vote was Legis. Joseph Belesi, R-Farmingdale, a former Nassau County police officer.

Belesi's "Yes" vote may have been the decisive one and he said he did so to modernize the police department.

“We are bringing the Nassau County Police Department into the 21st Century," he said. "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."

Under the reorganization, the Seventh Precinct will remain open while the Eighth Precinct will become a community policing center.

The village of Massapequa Park remains entirely in the Seventh Precinct, but mayor James Altadonna said he plans to reach out to the Precinct's commander to discuss the changes in the near future.

"This was a very difficult decision in these very hard economic times," Altadonna said of the legislature vote. "I am confident that our police department will continue their fine job of protecting and serving our residents."

Altadonna said he'd also like to invite Nassau County's new Police Commissioner Thomas Dale to meet with him at in the near future.

Andrew Coen Contributed to this report.

Franken Harpo March 06, 2012 at 10:47 PM
How about that? The sun goes on shining and the sea continues to rush to shore. Now I will get a cup of coffee and watch Judge Judy. The more things change the more they remain the same.

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