By Eden Laikin
Nassau County’s Acting Police Commissioner said the department’s 2012 budget plan to close two precincts, would not cause any layoffs, but a number of employees and positions will be eliminated through normal attrition.
Acting Police Commissioner Tom Krumpter told the County Legislature today that what will happen if the lawmakers approve the spending plan, is a realignment of police patrol boundaries – in place since the 1970s. He said new lines would be drawn to reflect current circumstances and crime patterns.
Under the plan, every community will continue to have a precinct and the same number of patrol posts. There will be no change to the number of officers or location of officers within neighborhoods as patrol officers change shifts in communities and not in their precinct house. Under County Executive Ed Mangano’s direction, 49 additional officers are assigned to patrol as compared to last year and that number might increase as some employees move from desk jobs to patrol.
Today, a full range of modern technology and software are installed in each and every patrol car – including GPS, CRIMESTAT, criminal record access, Outstanding Warrants and License Checks, Neighborhood Crime stats, Web access, ShotSpotter, video cameras and many other technological advances.
In effect, each patrol car is a Mobile Precinct – thereby minimizing or even negating the necessity of having brick and mortar facilities that are only a continuing expense to taxpayers, Krumpter said.
According to police statistics, the number one item that brings visitors to a police precinct is motor vehicle accident reports, which will soon be available on line.
“The only thing that we’re losing is 2 buildings, which we expect to sell,” County Executive Ed Mangano said.
As part of Commissioner Krumpter’s questioning by Legislators, he acknowledged that contract benefits given to Nassau police officers currently cost millions.
For example, longevity pay for officers cost nearly $17 million a year; night differential pay (which begins at 3:00pm) costs $26 million a year and is given to all but a handful of officers; holiday pay – where all officers get an extra day’s pay for each holiday whether they work it or not – costs $7.7 million a year and all officers get an education stipend regardless of whether they take a course.
There are 325 less sworn officers than in 2009, Krumpter said, and overall crime is down 9.5%. While studies are still ongoing to decide which two buildings to close, Krumpter said it wouldn’t be the First or Third precincts.
“There is great disparity between the number of calls at precincts,” Krumpter told the Legislature. “This would balance the administrative workload.”
He also said labor concessions are needed to balance the proposed budget.
The Sargeant’s exam, and the entrance exam – both which expire in 2013, will be deferred for a year, he added. Other positions now held by sworn officers will be civilianized.
Krumpter said that fringe benefits for officers constitute 87.5 % of the budget as officers receive free health insurance, educational pay while education advancements are not required, and other costly perks.