I am writing in response to a letter to the editor appearing in the June 8 issue of the Port Washington News by Thomas J. Tobin titled "Issues With PIC Candidates."
In his letter, Mr. Tobin makes reference to the part that the Nassau County Police played in the Board of Zoning meeting that took place at 7 p.m. on May 15, in the Senior Citizen's Center, Manorhaven. My purpose in writing is to clarify our presence at the building prior to the meeting.
Early in the week preceding the meeting in question, I met with Mayor James Tomlinson at my office. At that time we discussed several issues relative to the village and the delivery of police services to the community. Also discussed were the rather contentious village meetings that had been taking place over the preceding months. Mayor Tomlinson explained that one of the reasons for his visit was to request police presence at the Board of Appeals Meeting scheduled for the following Monday. I advised that it was not my policy to routinely assign officers to village meetings, but only to assign officers when necessary to maintain order and ensure public safety.
Mayor Tomlinson informed me that the issues under discussion had sharply divided the village and that he expected a heated exchange of viewpoints. Because of this he felt that the meeting had a great potential for disruption, in fact, he had received unsubstantiated information that someone might attempt to upset the meeting by calling in a bomb scare.
At this point, remembering an earlier meeting at the Sousa School in which the Port Washington Police were called to restore order, I decided to assign a police supervisor and two police officers to the meeting. I also contacted the Nassau County Police Special Investigations Squad to conduct a sweep of the building just prior to the meeting to ensure that the meeting could proceed without interruption in the event that a bomb scare was received. At no time was there any fear or expectation that a bomb would be placed in the building and the sweep was conducted solely for the above stated reason. This is consistent with the current practice.
On May 15, at about 6 p.m., I responded to the Senior Citizen Center, I was present while two public safety officers and a dog conducted a sweep of the building. Their work was completed in time for the meeting to begin, as scheduled, at 7 p.m. I remained in the area until about 9 p.m.
As the Commanding Officer of the Sixth Precinct, I meet frequently with officials of the 17 incorporated villages that we serve. In all instances I have found them to be genuinely concerned with the safety, welfare and quality of life of their constituents. I expect to maintain as good a working relationship with Mayor Tomlinson, and his successor, whoever that may be, as I did with former Mayor Pagano, to ensure the delivery of quality police services that the citizens of Manorhaven deserve.
George T. Morrish