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Letter: Opposes Precinct Merger Proposal

(The following is a letter from Village of East Hills Mayor Michael R. Koblenz to Nassau County Executive Edward I. Mangano reprinted at the mayor’s request.)

I write to you to express my residents’ sense of outrage, fear and concern over your proposal to merge the 6th Precinct, which protects our community with the 2nd Precinct in Woodbury. Because the initiative will shrink an already bare bones operation it is penny smart and police pound foolish.

Several years ago the North Shore of Long Island experienced one of the worst spikes in burglaries in the history of the area. It was not uncommon to have a monthly toll well into the double digits. Thankfully, the crime was finally quelled due to our fine police force and also adequate staffing. Then, Commanding Officer Jay Caputo and more recently Steve Williams have worked with us enviably to solve the crisis. If you now eliminate necessary their position and others, a surge in crime could well return. That fear is ominous and the need to keep our neighborhoods safe is compelling.   

While the same number of street police officers and cars may still be available under your plan, it is obvious that overall management will be attenuated or depleted. Senior management is responsible for ensuring the smooth-working effectiveness of police protection and therefore, the quality of life in our community. If anything, since the North Shore communities pay the most in taxes toward police costs, our dollars should buy a stronger operation, not a weaker one. Your proposal may save money, but it may not save lives.

I therefore call on you to abandon this concept. The implementation of the proposal to consolidate these precincts is simply wrong-minded, and must be avoided even during these fiscally challenging times, at all costs.

Michael R. Koblenz

Mayor of East Hills