In the Aug. 30 edition of the Manhasset Press, the Coalition for a Safer Manhasset's "What's Wrong With This Picture?" showed a car illegally parked and blocking a crosswalk on Plandome Road.
In the Aug. 16 edition of the Manhasset Press, there was a front-page photo of those attending the "National Night Out Against Crime" which was held at the gazebo on Plandome Road. The photo showed a community member, an elected town official and several members of the Nassau County police department, including a deputy inspector, two inspectors and the police commissioner.
What the photo did not show was an unmarked police car, parked and blocking approximately 75 percent of the crosswalk just east of the gazebo. It also blocked the ADA curb cut giving access to wheelchairs, strollers, etc.
The crosswalk is used by shoppers, commuters and by children going to the schools and the playground. The Manhasset playground is located directly behind the gazebo.
There have been more than a dozen pedestrians hit in the Plandome Road area over the last several years. Numerous civic groups, the Manhasset Chamber of Commerce and the Coalition for a Safer Manhasset have worked to make the community safer through many means, including asking the county and town for stricter enforcement of the vehicle and traffic laws and town parking ordinances.
The police department and elected officials are vital to enforcing the laws. Unfortunately, too often, it seems they are a part of the problem and not a part of the solution. There have been "reports" from a good number of residents that they have seen the police violate the same laws they are supposed to be enforcing.
Obviously, if making an "illegal" U-turn, blocking a crosswalk or various other offenses is in the line of duty, it should be acceptable. However, it should not be acceptable in non-emergencies and when officers are getting coffee on Plandome Road, etc.
Ironically, at a "Safety Day," held at the gazebo about a year ago, a police car was parked on the sidewalk - even though there were, again, dozens of available parking spaces in the immediate vicinity.
Also, about a year ago, the county executive's car was parked in a "No Parking - Fire Zone" at the Manhasset High/Junior High School during a community event to hear about various community concerns - including safety.
It appears that the car blocking the crosswalk at the "National Night Out Against Crime" was the car of a high-ranking member of the department.
How can we expect the "rank and file" (police officers) to obey the laws when their supervisors are blatantly ignoring the laws and the public's safety? How can we expect the public to obey the laws when they see the police violating the laws they are supposed to be enforcing? How can we believe that our public officials truly care about the safety of Manhasset's residents when they condone such behavior by looking the other way?