By Jessica Parks and Teri West
Nassau County’s 6th Police Precinct is likely to make a partial return in 2019.
Though Nassau County Executive Laura Curran did not include it in next year’s budget, both the Legislature’s Republican majority and Democratic minority have prepared amendments that would reintroduce the precinct.
Should Curran veto the amendment, that bipartisan support makes it likely that there will be sufficient votes to override her veto, said Presiding Officer and Legislator Richard Nicolello (R-New Hyde Park).
“Since all 19 of us are on board with this I don’t see any circumstances where we wouldn’t override her veto,” he said.
The 3rd Precinct in Williston Park absorbed Manhasset’s 6th Precinct to cut police costs in 2012 under the previous county executive, Edward Mangano. It did not result in fewer police officer on patrol in the area, Curran said.
This decision made the 3rd Precinct the largest police precinct in Nassau County.
Michael Martino, Curran’s director of communications, said in in an email Curran “will review the amendments put forth by both the Legislative Majority and Minority, including reopening the 6th and 8th Precincts.”
He explained that the budget she submitted “presents the lowest deficit the county has faced since 2014,” according to the Nassau Interim Finance Authority.
Curran estimated that the restoration of the 6th Precinct would cost about $2 million at the Plandome Heights Civic Association’s annual meeting last Thursday night.
The main reason for not including it in the budget was a lack of detectives, she said.
“We do not have enough detectives to make a full squad,” Curran said.
She attributed the shortage to detectives’ salaries being lower than those of regular police officers.
“That is something we can fix with collective bargaining,” she said.
The Republican amendment, if passed, would at first partly reopen the precinct, which Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said costs $800,000 to do, Nicolello said.
“The full restoration is going to have to wait until we hire additional detectives,” Nicollelo said.
He hopes it would happen in 2020, he said.
Since the merger of the two precincts, there have been a number of calls by residents and local officials to bring the Manhasset-based precinct back. Republican legislators in Nassau sent Curran a letter urging its reopening.
Manhasset is now part of the 3rd Precinct North Subdivision, which also includes Great Neck and Roslyn.
“The rudiments of services that the 3rd Precinct North is providing has not necessarily been problematic, but a full-fledged precinct gives us the maximum service to cover the wide area that the 3rd Precinct North currently covers,” said Richard Bentley, president of the Greater Council of Manhasset Civic Associations.
The former headquarters of the 6th Precinct, located at 100 Community Drive in Manhasset, now functions as a 24/7 community policing center.
The center is staffed by two problem-oriented police officers who try to assist residents in quality of life problems.
“Following the closure of the Sixth Precinct, the facility has been minimally staffed and at times fallen into extensive disrepair, resulting in unnecessary overtime and repair expenses,” Legislator Ellen Birnbaum (D-Great Neck) said in a statement. “This is contrary to the initially stated goal of achieving millions in annual savings through a precinct consolidation plan that was never fully executed.”
Chuck McCarthy, president of the Plandome Heights Civic Association, is an advocate for the return of the 6th Precinct.
“It is a part of the fabric of our village,” he said.
He added that the land for the 6th Precinct facility was donated to Manhasset by the Whitney family, which was prominent in Manhasset in the early 1900s and donated a number of institutions.
“If you have just a 3rd Precinct open, it covers a tremendous area and the supervisors have to do twice as much,” Nicolello said. “If you separate them, there’s more direct supervision for each officer.”
An earlier version of this story said that the Whitney family donated the 6th Precinct facility to the Village of Plandome Heights.