By Elizabeth Johnson
The Nassau County Police Department’s Sixth Precinct, which has long included the Roslyn area, was the scene of a local government official gathering with Nassau County Executive Laura Curran announcing the reopening of two police precincts, seven years after they were closed under the Mangano administration in a consolidation plan. As the press gathered, the Nassau County Department of Public Works (DPW) was busy working on the exterior of the building, moving a large mound of dirt in front of the building. The DPW is tasked with doing renovations to the decaying 1970s structure. The precinct, which officially opened on Tuesday, April 9, is in need of a facelift as evidenced by the lack of signage and broken lettering on the building.
Residents of the area were upset at the closing of the precinct in 2011 and have been petitioning for the reopening of the Sixth Precinct in Manhasset for years. The building has been used as a community policing center and to house the Highway Patrol. It will add staff and services to enhance the county’s successful community policing initiative, which focuses on proactive crime prevention and quality-of-life strategies.
“Our precincts are a vital part of Nassau’s unique police-community connection,” said Curran. “Seven years ago, these communities lost their police precincts and with them a little bit of civic pride. These newly-renovated and properly-staffed precincts are a key part of our comprehensive effort to strengthen community policing in Nassau. Community policing is really part of Nassau’s DNA. We do it better here than anywhere else.”
Beginning Tuesday, the Nassau County Sixth Precinct will be running from a modular facility adjacent to the station house, which will undergo renovations. That is followed by the reopening of the Eighth Precinct in Levittown on Wednesday, April 10.
“I am pleased to announce with County Executive Curran that these precincts are officially open to serve our residents,” said Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder. “The Nassau County Police has a long-standing reputation as one of the most service-orientated police departments in the country, and this brings back the community policing model to the local communities. We have heard many times over the years that our residents repeatedly wanted their precincts back open and this is now a reality.”
“I’m not only glad that our communities will have their precincts back—I’m just as glad the sworn members of the department will have their precincts back,” Curran added.
“The residents of Nassau County deserve to have their resident precincts reopened,” said Nassau County Detectives Association President John Wighaus on April 4 at a press conference on the reopening of the precincts. “Unfortunately, it will be a two-part process because we do not have enough detectives in Nassau County to open the detective squads in the Sixth and Eighth precincts.“
“The Detective Division is currently 48 detectives short of the budgeted number of 360, and for the past two years we have voiced our concerns about public safety issues to the County Executive and nothing has been done,” said Wighaus. “We are becoming more reactive in our special squads than proactive due to manpower issues in details such as Narcotics/Vice Squad, Gang Investigation Unit and Forgery Squad, all while we are dealing with an opioid epidemic, murderous gangs and a rise in elderly scams and identity theft.”
Two commanding officers and a fully staffed reception desk have been assigned to restore services and respond to calls and complaints previously directed to the Third Precinct in Williston Park. Sector cars will now report to the restored command in Manhasset.
The widely praised problem-oriented policing (POP) deployment will be returned within the Sixth and Eighth precinct commands. This proven program assigns officers to work closely with community leaders, business owners and residents.
Officers focus on crime prevention, safety issues, traffic hazards, graffiti complaints and among many other quality-of-life issues.
“Our precinct doors are always open to speak with our police officers, supervisors and POP officers, which in turn keeps those lines of communication open with our entire community,” said Ryder.
The Manhasset station house was built in 1973 at 100 Community Dr., directly across from Whitney Pond Park and across the street from an area called Spinney Hill. It is currently in line for an estimated $800,000 renovation to the HVAC system, lobby upgrades and other improvements throughout the building. Construction is scheduled to conclude in October.
Pending completion of the repairs, the mobile office unit located adjacent to the Sixth Precinct is serving as a temporary base of operations with offices for the new commanding officer, deputy commanding officer, and space for staffing the precinct front desk.
Curran thanked Legislator Ellen Birnbaum for her tireless advocacy in working towards the reopening. She also thanked the entire legislature for working in a bipartisan manner to reopen the precincts.
“Following nearly seven years of advocacy, I am delighted that, at long last, the Sixth Precinct will re-open,” said Birnbaum. “By doing so, we are embracing a community-centered approach to law enforcement that adheres to contemporary best practices and serves our constituents and officers. I am grateful to County Executive Curran and Commissioner Ryder for their commitment to our communities throughout this process and the elected officials and community advocates who stood with me and spoke out to ensure this successful outcome.”
“Over the course of time when both precincts were closed, we have continued to assign the same personnel to patrol posts, and crime in both areas has declined to historic lows due to the dedication and hard work of our department members,” Ryder added. “I am proud to announce that Inspector Gregory Abruzzo will be the Commanding Officer of the Sixth Precinct and he will continue our beliefs and values that guide our department as loyalty, integrity, fairness and excellence.”