$1 Million Public Safety Initiative For Police Departments


    North Shore Nassau County Police Departments receive funding for new license plate reading devices

    Senator Kaplan presents a ceremonial check to Great Neck Estates Village Mayor William D. Warner, DDS.
    (Photo from the Office of Senator Kaplan)

    In late October, Senator Anna Kaplan launched a $1,050,000 Public Safety Initiative to provide grants to Nassau County Police Departments on the North Shore. Improving public safety and preventing crime is a priority of local officials and police departments to keep residents safe.

    With a recent increase in auto thefts in North Shore communities, the grants given to the police departments will fund the purchase of license plate readers to help combat crime and solve cases.

    Bigger police departments in Nassau County have been able to invest in license plate readers. The expensive technology has been difficult to obtain for many local police departments on the North Shore.

    The goal of Senator Kaplan’s Public Safety Initiative is to help the smaller departments on the North Shore get license plate readers to increase the safety of communities by preventing and solving crimes.

    The Port Washington Police Department.
    (Photo from the Port Washington Police Department website)

    A press release from the office of Senator Kaplan provided a list of the seven local police departments receiving the grants.

    • Kensington
    • Kings Point
    • Lake Success
    • Great Neck Estates
    • Port Washington
    • Sands Point
    • Old Westbury

    The devices are high-tech computer-controlled camera systems that can be mounted on patrol vehicles or fixed locations such as busy street corners. According to a press release from the office of Senator Kaplan, the devices “read the license plates of passing vehicles and immediately cross-reference them with State DMV records and law enforcement databases to detect a vehicle that is stolen or was recently involved in a crime, as well as individuals wanted for outstanding criminal offenses.”

    “Our police deserve to have the best tools and resources at their disposal to fight crime and keep our communities safe, and I’m proud to always stand with them and provide them with the funding they need to do their jobs well,” said Senator Kaplan in a press release. “License plate readers are a cutting-edge tool that our law enforcement can use to catch criminals and solve crimes, and thanks to my new Public Safety Initiative, every local police department on the North Shore of my district will now have access to this vital equipment.”

    Lake Success Police Department vehicles.
    (Photo from the Lake Success Police Department Facebook)

    Each of the seven North Shore police departments will receive a $150,000 grant to purchase the license plate reading device to install and help prevent auto thefts and other crimes in their communities.

    Mayor of the Village of Sands Point and the Sands Point Police Commissioner Peter Forman said, “Sands Point is grateful for a grant to allow us to continue to build out our public safety infrastructure, including enhancing our license plate readers (LPRs) especially with mobile LPRs in our patrol cars and with other progressive policing technologies.”

    Great Neck Estates Mayor William D. Warner, DDS, said, “My goal is always to ensure that our Police have the best tools to keep our community safe. Thanks to the new million-dollar Public Safety Initiative, which will provide our Village with $150,000 for public safety improvements, we have another tool in our kit to fight crime here in the Village of Great Neck Estates and across the North Shore without asking local taxpayers to foot the bill. I’m grateful for Senator Kaplan’s leadership to bring license plate readers to our area, and I’m eager to work with her to get them up and running here in our Village.”

    On the Village of Great Neck Estates website, Chief Ricardo Moreno of the Great Neck Estates police department posted an advisory to make residents aware of the increase in car thefts. Luxury cars, SUVs and other vehicles with push start buttons and keyfobs have been the main target of auto thefts in Nassau County.


    Example of a license plate reader mounted on the top of a police car. (Photo from Wikimedia Commons)

    “The thefts are occurring at all times of the day and night in which the car has been left unlocked and the key fob left in a vehicle equipped with a push button start,” reads the Great Neck Estates Police Department advisory.

    The Sands Point Police Department shared on its website that “according to an independent research ​study, there are an average of 209 cars stolen each day with one common cause: the keys or key fobs were left inside the vehicle.”

    The Great Neck Estates Police Department shared some tips to avoid car thefts, listed below:

    • Never leave or hide a smart key, valet key, or spare key anywhere in or on your vehicle, no matter where you park it.
    • Always take your keys or fob with you.
    • Do not leave your car running with the keys in the ignition
    • If possible, park your vehicle in a locked garage.
    • Keep the exterior of homes and driveways well-illuminated.
    • Close all your vehicle windows completely when parked.
    • Secure your garage door opener to prevent access to your home.

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