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Nassau County Closes Precincts to Cut Budget

Monday, March 05, 2012

A suburban New York county has voted to realign its police precincts.

Under the plan approved Monday, four of Nassau County's eight precincts will be turned into community policing centers. Four other precincts will remain open. Officials say while 100 officers will be trimmed from the payroll, no actual patrols will be eliminated.

The move is part of an effort to help reduce a $310 million budget deficit. County leaders say the change should save $20 million annually.

County executive Ed Mangano praised the decision in a statement and described it as a "win-win" for residents that "results in more safety and not more taxes."

But union officials and others dispute the savings claim and warn of crime increases.

James Carver, president of the Nassau Country Police PBA, is concerned how the change will impact public safety. He says this realignment come on top of other police reductions. "January 2009 we were at 2,720 police officers, and today we sit at 2,380. So we've already seen a mass reduction in head count in the police department,” he said.

A state fiscal watchdog last year declared a fiscal emergency in Nassau.

The county currently has 177 patrol cars deployed during a given shift. Proponents say patrol cars are equipped with high-tech equipment that reduces the necessity for precincts.

Annmarie Fertoli contributed to this report.

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