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Nassau Approves 'Emergency' Raises and Body Cameras For Superior Officers

bodycamera_apdamiandovarganes_170217.jpg
Damian Dovarganes
/
AP
  • Nassau’s Legislature gives 2% raises to police sergeants, detectives, and captains.
  • The contract gives a $300/month bonus to police who wear body cameras.
  • Nassau’s three progressive lawmakers opposed the 8 ½-year contract for fear it shuts the door on future reforms.

Nassau County lawmakers approved a new labor contract yesterday that gives 2% raises to police sergeants, detectives, and captains. The contract increases Nassau’s police annual budget an average of $6.5 million while also taking the county’s first steps toward body cameras.
Although common elsewhere in the country, adoption of body cameras has been slow on Long Island, in part because it has to be negotiated with police unions. Last week County Executive Laura Curran agreed to a new 8 ½ year contract with the county’s Superior Officer Association that gives cops who wear cameras an extra $300 a month.

Lawmakers who voted no on the new contract did so because they are concerned it would prevent future reforms.

Right now, both Suffolk and Nassau are undergoing state-ordered review of policing. That process isn’t expected to be complete until early next year.

Democrats Kevan Abrahams, Siela Byone and Carrié Solages opposed the measure.

“This is wonderful that body cameras are in here. My concern is that we are silencing the community stakeholders that are hard at work, working with this county administration, to affect further reforms,” Bynoe said.

Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said that the SOA contract does not prevent him from making future reforms that are policy in nature. When pressed why body cameras needed to be negotiated he and Tatum Fox, Deputy County Executive for Public Safety, said there are some reforms that are mandatory for negotiation.

Abrahams asked at length if Nassau’s police reform task force could come up with future reforms that would be up for mandatory negotiation. Fox said those reforms could be negotiated in a side deal.

Although many lawmakers grumbled that Curran submitted the contract for approval as a last minute “emergency” they passed it 16 to 3.

Charles is senior reporter focusing on special projects. He has won numerous awards including an IRE award, three SPJ Public Service Awards, and a National Murrow. He was also a finalist for the Livingston Award for Young Journalists and Third Coast Director’s Choice Award.