Nassau County Legis. Dennis Dunne (R-Levittown) voted in favor of the County's precinct realignment plan. To him, the decision seemed clear.
"Why would I vote against something that looks like it's going to be fixing a lot of headaches?" he said.
The plan, which calls for four police precincts to be converted into community policing centers, was approved by the Nassau County Legislature in a 10-9 vote on Monday. In voting for the bill, Dunne said he said he was doing what his community wanted him to do.
Dunne called his decision to vote in favor of the Nassau County Police Department's precinct restructuring plan necessary in order to assist the community. He felt that the current precinct structure was dated and said that the proposed changes were needed. He was also happy that the plan prevented the county from raising taxes on his constituents.
"Realignment was necessary," he said. "The buildings were getting old and dilapidated. We were going to have to spend capital funds to straighten out some of the buildings because they were so old, in need of repair, in need of a tremendous amount of structural change. This is one way of doing that, in addition to realigning and being able to put a bit of cost-saving for the taxpayers, without hurting our public safety."
Along the way, Dunne said that he and his constituents had numerous concerns with the project. He brought some of those concerns forward in an interview from last month. He said he was happy with the way those concerns were addressed by County Executive Ed Mangano and Police Commissioner Thomas Dale.
"I had questions, questions that the public brought to my attention," he said. "I was appreciative that the County Executive and his staff and the Commissioner did pay attention to the problems that the people were foreseeing, and they addressed them. That was good enough for me."
One of the questions that Dunne had was about how many police officers would be stationed at the precinct. Originally, it was believed to be two, but Dunne later learned that NCPD Bureau of Special Operations officers would also be stationed in the precinct.
In terms of the vote itself, Dunne was unhappy that people were saying the precincts were going to "close." "For all of that literature saying 'don't close the Eighth Precinct,'" he said, "we didn't close the Eighth Precinct. There's going to be more activity at the Eighth Precinct now than in the past."
The Legislature voted along party lines, with 10 Republicans supporting the bill and nine Democrats opposing it. Dunne said he supported the bill because he believed his constituents wanted him to, based on what he heard from residents in his office and around the community. He respected that other legislators represented districts that did not support the bill.
"They're representing their people," he said. "I'm not going to knock a legislator for voting the way the people who put him in office ask him to vote. I'm doing what the people of my district ask, whether [they ask] at church [or] whether [they ask] at Domenico's."