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Judge Blocks Nassau Police Contract At Request Of Police Reformers

Damian Dovarganes

A judge has blocked Nassau County from signing a new collective bargaining agreement with the Superior Officers Association, a union representing about 350 police sergeants, lieutenants and captains. Police accountability advocates say the labor deal sidesteps potential police reforms.

Papers filed with the court say the county is obstructing meaningful police reforms by approving labor contracts before a state-mandated task force has completed its review of the police department. In June, Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered all police departments to conduct a thorough review of police policies and procedures.

The petition to the court complains that some of those reforms may require new labor agreements and should be stopped.

Last month, the Nassau County Legislature approved an 8.5 year contract that gave raises and a bonus to officers who wore body cameras. The agreement was reached in September. County Executive Laura Curran waited until November to present it to lawmakers. She also asked that the contract skip committee and debate.

The Legislature complained, but agreed in a 16-to-3 vote along racial lines, with white representatives voting in favor and Black representatives voting against.

Police reform advocates said Nassau rushed the process to avoid scrutiny and is not taking police reform seriously.

Deputies to Curran conceded during debate on the labor deal with the Superior Officers Association that certain police reforms may require a separate amendment to the labor contract.

A Nassau County spokesperson declined to comment, citing pending litigation.

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.