Accounts differ on possible increase in officers

Manhasset village mayors met with Inspector Daniel Flanagan, the new Commander of the Nassau County Police Department Third Precinct, on Friday. (From l to r) Plandome Heights Mayor Kenneth Riscica, Plandome Manor Mayor Barbara Donno, Flanagan and Flower Hill Mayor Robert McNamara.

Two village mayors in Manhasset and the 3rd Precinct’s commanding officer gave differing accounts about a discussion last Friday of a possible increase in the number of problem oriented policing, or POP, officers in Manhasset and nearby communities.

Plandome Heights Mayor Kenneth Riscica and Plandome Manor Mayor Barbara Donno said the commanding officer, Inspector Daniel Flanagan, said he intended to complete a plan to increase the number of officers.

“We understand that the plan is to increase the POP team from two to four officers so we asked about progress toward that goal,” Riscica said on Monday. “He confirmed the goal and indicated that the increase is not yet scheduled.”

But Flanagan said on Tuesday: “I’m not aware of a plan. I don’t work with the Legislature.”

“I’m supportive of any kind of increase,” he added. “I’m not saying there will be one. That’s not what was said.”

Flanagan said the issue came up during a discussion about past interest from the Nassau County Legislature in an increase in POP officers.

“Nassau County Legislator Norma Gonsalves had mentioned in the past she wanted to increase from the current two” officers, Flanagan said. “No movement.”

“It would be great,” Donno said of the supposed plan to add more POP officers. “They are fantastic because they know the community. They have been extremely responsive advocates for us.”

The Police Department has assigned four POP officers to the 3rd Precinct, with two each in the North and South Subdivisions.

The 6th Precinct had a total of four POP officers before it merged with the 3rd Precinct in 2012 as a cost-saving measure.

The North Subdivision — which includes Manhasset, Roslyn and Great Neck — would see its POP force increase under the supposed plan.

The meeting last Friday, also attended by Flower Hill Mayor Robert McNamara, was the first held between Manhasset village mayors and Flanagan.

“It was basically a ‘get to know you’ meeting,” Donno said. “I was very impressed with his outreach and willingness to meet. I think he really wants to do what’s necessary here to keep everyone safe and for the welfare of our community.”

“We gave Inspector Flanagan a sense of the things that are priority concerns to our residents,” Riscica said. “And he gave us a sense of methods and activity.”

Among the concerns raised were residential burglaries, vandalism, speeding, heightened police presence and traffic enforcement, Donno and Riscica said.

Donno said she raised the issue of speeding on North Plandome Road because “it’s pretty much a straightaway around that curve to Port Washington.”

“He realizes we probably need more enforcement,” she said. “He is going to try to do that.”

Donno said concrete steps on the various issues were not determined at the meeting, except plans for Flanagan to send safety materials the mayors can “post on our website or get out to our community. Tips on what to look out for in vandalism and that kind of thing.”

Many civic leaders and mayors in the Northern Subdivision have called for the return of the 6th Precinct as a means to address the issues raised last Friday.

Asked if the idea came up during the meeting with Flanagan, Donno said, “No, not at all.”

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Max Zahn

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