Written by Rich Forestano Friday, 09 March 2012 00:00
Thomas Dale was tapped to man the Nassau County Police Department three months ago but was not officially designated until hours before the County Legislature voted 10-9 to realign four of its eight police precincts on March 5. His designation vote went along party lines.
Dale’s welcome party never came and there was no ticker-tape parade, just more questions on what’s to be done with the publicly dubbed “Super Precincts,” revamped station houses called “community policing centers” and boos and jeers from residents at the hearing prior to the vote, concerned with public safety.
Minority leader Kevan Abrahams chided Dale for having no knowledge of the ongoing negotiations between the unions and Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano. Furthermore, he said that to even consider a vote before having a solid procedure in place for the conversion of the precinct houses was irresponsible.
“It’s a little troubling that you don’t know that these deals are possibly being put into writing,” Abrahams said. “You’re here testifying that you don’t have full knowledge of that? I would think that is a concern.”
Dale confirmed to legislators that he’s not involved in the day to day tug of war that’s been occurring over the last few weeks between Mangano and union officials. Before he could go further, Presiding Officer Peter Schmitt advised Dale not to discuss negotiations in public, which prompted a slew of boos from residents and unsettling looks from Democratic legislators.
“I never said I didn’t know what deals were going on,” Dale said. “I’m not 100 percent sure what the deals are. I’m not involved with the intimate, day-to-day negotiations that are going on.”
Concerning the reassignment of police officers, Dale stated that no officer would be moved at this time.
“None of the officers will be moving,” Dale said. “We want to keep them right where they are, but down the road as time goes by, things happen and people move. Our intention is to keep everybody exactly where they are.”
Before the precinct realignment vote ever took place, Dale revealed that police department heads planned on realigning the second and eighth precincts first. The second precinct services Syosset, Jericho, Plainview, Muttontown and parts of Woodbury as well as areas just south and northwest of Oyster Bay. The eighth precinct covers areas from as far west as Levittown to as far east as Farmingdale.
“Basically this plan is in flux,” Abrahams said, continuing, “and it pretty much creates an avenue for yourself or the county executive to change it at any time.”
An approximate two-month timetable would be used as a template to alter the first, fifth, sixth and eighth precincts. However, certain precincts could take longer, according to Dale.
“Within two months we should have the [second precinct] done,” he said. “Then after we’re satisfied with that, there’s a two month timetable for each one, but it’s approximate. It may take more time to get others done.”