The Massapequa Preserve is widely used by community residents and youth as a place to enjoy the natural beauty of our town especially during Covid-19. Unfortunately, we have discovered that sometimes the Preserve is not used in a positive way.
With the help of a local parent, Massapequa Takes Action Coalition (MTAC) was informed that youth and young adults have been loitering in the park after hours, engaging in risky behaviors and building structures in remote areas of the Preserve. Working with its partners, the Nassau County Police Department, Nassau County Department of Parks and Recreation and the New York National Guard Counterdrug Task Force, MTAC has removed the structures to discourage use of the park after hours and illegal use of substances in the Preserve.
Since the collaboration, Problem Oriented Policing (POP) officers have increased their patrol of the Massapequa Preserve to show more law enforcement presence and deter youth from being in the Preserve after hours. Recently, the POP officers have been involved in taking down another structure in one of the “chronic” areas of the Preserve. The National Guard’s recent environmental scans have found evidence of alcohol and drug use in the Preserve. Testing of the drug paraphernalia found in the Preserve has confirmed use of the drug THC, cocaine, heroin, ephedrine and methamphetamine. The New York National Guard will continue to conduct environmental scans of the Massapequa Preserve to document if any additional signs of drinking or drug use are present especially in the area known as “chronic” where it is evident that youth and young adults engage in risky behaviors.
“Increasing patrols in the Massapequa Preserve shows our youth and residents that we will not accept illegal activities in our parks. If you see something, say something. All residents are encouraged to call the 7th precinct at (516) 573-6700 to report suspicious activity in the Preserve,” stated the POP officer.
“The National Guard supports coalitions across Long Island and will continue to support MTAC in their mission of reducing youth substance use. By reducing “hotspot” areas like the “chronic” area in the Preserve we can ensure our parks are a safe place for people to enjoy,” added Technical Sergeant Carissa Siry of the New York national Guard Counterdrug Task Force.
"The Massapequa Preserve is a great place to walk, bike, jog, fish, and enjoy the outdoors" said Nassau County Legislator James Kennedy (R, Massapequa) adding, “This partnership will help to ensure the preserve continues to be the pristine area Nassau residents have come to expect, and the area remains safe for everyone to enjoy."
“We encourage parents to continue talking with their teens and young adults regarding the dangers of underage drinking and substance use. Working together the community can ensure a healthy and safe Massapequa,” noted Dr. Thomas Fasano, Assistant Superintendent, Curriculum & Instruction of Massapequa Public Schools.
“MTAC has a long history of working with residents and law enforcement. This relationship allows residents to have a voice and work along with organizations like MTAC to better their community. Our goal is to work together to “take back” the Preserve and create a safe environment for youth and residents to enjoy,” reported Mark Wenzel, Co-Chair of MTAC and Assistant Director of YES Community Counseling Center.
Dan Pearl the mayor of Massapequa Park noted: “Brady Park is the start of the Preserve, enjoy it, it is a beautiful and safe place to go and enjoy nature, the more people who use it the better for everyone”
About Massapequa Takes Action Coalition (MTAC)
Since 1997, MTAC has collaborated with Massapequa Public Schools, parents, residents, law enforcement, clergy, private and non-profit agencies, businesses and federal, state and local governments to enhance efforts to prevent and reduce underage drinking and youth substance use. Working together, MTAC and its partners promote a healthy Massapequa.
To become a part of MTAC’s efforts and learn more about MTAC’s initiative to “take back” the Massapequa Preserve please contact Larissa Singh, MTAC Project Coordinator at (516) 799-3203 ext. 132 or visit mtacoaliiton.com
MTAC and its partners have been working to remove structures like this within “chronic” areas of the Preserve to discourage loitering in the park after hours and illegal use of substances.