Above the hum of midmorning traffic on Roslyn Road, Nassau County Legislator Arnold Drucker (D-Plainview) spoke on Monday alongside East Williston school district officials to promote a bill that he said would increase traffic safety on a dangerous stretch of the roadway.
Later that evening, acting Nassau County Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter said the legislation “serves no purpose.”
The bill, proposed by Drucker last Thursday, would require police to concentrate resources to prioritize the protection of houses of worship, religious institutions and dangerous stretches of roadway like the corner of Roslyn Road and Locust Lane.
“To suggest somehow to prioritize what we do with policing based on legislation is to suggest that we don’t already prioritize policing based on need and resources,” Krumpter said on Monday.
The Police Duties bill, which has the support of all seven Democratic county legislators, ensures increased policing at “accident ‘hot spots’ where the frequency of serious traffic accidents involving injury or death is especially high,” the bill said.
“I’d like to see a police car sitting here,” said Drucker as he stood at the dangerous intersection. “I’ve never seen a cop car. They must have a presence. Once in a while drivers have to know they’re going to get nailed if they drive fast.”
The dangerous stretch of Roslyn Road became a central concern for Drucker’s predecessor, Judy Jacobs, in 2014 after two fatal accidents occurred on the road within a month of each other.
Jacobs died due to complications related to cancer last September.
“This intersection has been problematic for years,” Drucker said. “I’m going to fight like Judy did. We’re dealing with public safety here; it’s not political.”
In March 2014, two 19-year-olds, Steven Clancy and Javier Gonzalez, were killed when their vehicle veered off Roslyn Road by the intersection of Locust Lane and went through the fence of an adjacent property.
In April of that year, Facundo R. Ponce, 43, was killed when he lost control of his car and crashed into a charter bus on Roslyn Road near Heathcote Drive.
East Williston school board President Mark Kamberg said he supports the legislation.
“We need action now,” he said. “Police presence in any situation makes it a safer one. There’s no doubt in my mind. Something needs to be done in order to slow traffic down.”
Kamberg, who said East Williston school buses routinely drive down the stretch of road, would ultimately like to see the Legislature allow a traffic light to be installed at the intersection of Roslyn Road and Locust Lane, an initiative supported by Drucker and North Hempstead Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth.
The bill also “changes the statutorily defined duties of the Nassau County Police Department so they are obligated to step up monitoring of houses of worship and religious institutions throughout the county and not just on high holy days,” Drucker said.
Responding to the proposed legislation last Thursday, Presiding Officer Norma Gonsalves (R-East Meadow) said, “This arbitrary legislation is nothing more than a partisan attempt to politicize the horrible tragedies that have occurred in houses of worship. It ignores the fact that Republicans have been able to bring crime down in Nassau County by over 27 percent since winning the majority.”
“There was something in November called a presidential election. Maybe Norma doesn’t remember it now,” Drucker said. “It resulted in an increase in threats at houses of worship. This is not something new.”
Gonsalves will determine whether the bill receives a public hearing and, eventually, a vote.
Drucker said concerned residents should voice their opinions at a public Nassau County Legislature committee meeting on May 8 at 1 p.m.
“We invite all residents in the community to come down to the Legislature to speak in open session and express their outrage,” he said.