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WSHU's Charles Lane follows the different paths taken by Suffolk and Nassau counties on Long Island to undergo mandated police reform.

Nassau Announces Committee To Hire More Cops Of Color

Police car
Scott Davidson

Nassau County announced a committee to increase the number of non-white police officers. Right now, about 87% of the department is white — far less diverse than the community they are sworn to protect.

Nassau police have been under a federal consent decree since 1982, but little has changed in the department’s demographics. When asked why the consent decree hasn’t increased hiring, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said the problem was complicated.

“Just because something has been a problem or challenge for many years for many decades doesn’t mean it’s intractable. It doesn’t mean you can’t take a fresh look,” Curran said.

Police reform groups have frequently pointed to the lack of diversity on the force as a problem. During a recent state-mandated police reform process, they suggested getting rid of the polygraph test and outsourcing the entire recruitment process.

At the time, Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said he would consider those suggestions. None of those advocates were named as part of the county’s diversity committee.

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.