NASSAU COUNTY DETECTIVE SHORTAGE

February 09, 2019 at 4:45 am

Long Island’s detectives are working more with less, often with mounting caseloads. At danger, the citizens of Nassau County who are facing a deadly gang problem. We look at why, the statistics, and the search for solutions from an officer’s perspective.

Aired on January 8, 2019.

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THE NASSAU COUNTY DEBLGTIVES
UNION IS RAISING SERIOUS
CONCERNS ABOUT A DETECTIVE
SHORTAGE.
ACCORDING TO THE PRESIDENT OF
THE NASSAU COUNTY DETECTIVES
ASSOCIATION, THE DIVISION IS
CURRENTLY 45 DETECTIVES SHORT OF
THE NUMBER OF BUDGETED FOR THE
COUNTY AND ACCORDING TO HIM
THAT, SHORTAGE MADE IT MUCH MORE
DIFFICULT FOR THE DEPARTMENT TO
COMBAT THE GROWING GANG VIOLENCE
FROM GROUPS SUCH AS THE LETHAL
MS 13.
SO WHY IS THERE SUCH A
SIGNIFICANT SHORTAGE OF THE
DETECTIVES IN THE NASSAU COUNTY
POLICE DEPARTMENT?
AND HOW CAN THE PROBLEM BE
FIXED?
JOINING US NOW TO HELP ANSWER
THOSE QUESTIONS IS DETECTIVE
JOHN WIGHOUSE.
THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.
>> THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME
TODAY.
>> SO FIRST OF ALL, DETECTIVE,
WHY IS THERE THIS SHORTAGE OF
DETECTIVES IN NASSAU COUNTY?
>> RIGHT NOW, THERE SAY LACK OF
INTEREST IN POLICE OFFICERS
SUBMITTING LETTERS TO BECOME THE
DETECTIVES FOR SEVERAL REASONS.
ONE OF THEM BEING THE
RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE
DETECTIVES.
OUR POLICE OFFICERS IN NASSAU
COUNTY DO A GREAT JOB.
ONCE THE DETECTIVE GETS THERE,
WE'RE INTERVIEWING WITNESSES,
VICTIMS, WE ALSO HAVE TO MAKE A
CASE AGAINST THE SUBJECT AND SEE
THAT CASE THROUGHOUT A
SUCCESSFUL PROSECUTION IN COURT.
THERE IS ALSO ISSUES OF OUR
STEPS IN BECOMING A DETECTIVE.
IF YOU'RE A POLICE OFFICER, IT'S
EIGHT STEPS TO TOP PAY.
IF YOU MAKE THE DETECTIVE, THEN
YOU'RE THIRD TIER.
YOU HAVE TO COMPLETE YOUR PBA
STEPS WORKING AS A DETECTIVE AND
THEN ONCE YOU COMPLETE THOSE
STEPS, THEN CANYOU CAN GET PAID
THE DETECTIVE.
>> SO IT'S ESSENTIALLY, THERE IS
NOT ECONOMIC INCENTIVES FOR THEM
TO TAKE ON THE GREATER
RESPONSIBILITY.
>> INITIALLY IT'S A $2400 RAISE
BUT STAYING IN YOUR POLICE
OFFICER STEPS AS WELL.
>> ALL RIGHT.
SO ELABORATE ON WHAT I SAID IN
THE INTRODUCTION.
WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE ARE THE
CONSEQUENCES OR THE POTENTIAL
CONSEQUENCES OF THIS DETECTIVE
SHORTAGE?
>> IT'S A PUBLIC SAFETY CRISIS.
WE'RE SEEING IT WITH THE GANG MS
13 NOW.
WE'RE DIGGING UP BODIES IN
NASSAU COUNTY OF VICTIMS FROM
THIS GANG.
THERE ALSO HAVE OTHER BODIES OUT
THERE THAT WE KNOW ABOUT IN
THESE PRESERVES AND PARKS IN
NASSAU THAT WE HAVEN'T RECOVERED
YET.
WE'RE DOWN TO SEVEN DETECTIVES
IN OUR GANG INVESTIGATION SQUAD.
>> HOW MANY SHOULD YOU HAVE?
>> WE SHOULD HAVE 20 DETECTIVES
IN THERE.
ALL OUR SQUADS ARE SHORT.
THE SPECIAL SQUADS ARE SHORT.
>> AND IT'S MAKING CRIME
INCREASE?
>> WELL, YOU SEE WHAT THE GANG
VIOLENCE THAT'S OUT THERE AND
EVEN NARCOTICS WE'RE DOWN TO 29
DETECTIVES IN NARCOTICS.
>> THE REASON SKII ASK THAT IS
BECAUSE LAST NIGHT I WAS LOOKING
AT NASSAU COUNTY CRIME
STATISTICS AND THE CRIME AT
LEAST ON PAPER HAS BEEN
PLUMMETING.
I SAW -- I WAS LOOKING AT THE
CRIME STATS FROM 2006 TO 2017.
IT'S BEEN PLUMMETING.
IT'S BEEN GOING DOWN AND MURDER
RATE, ROBBERY, MOTORCYCLE THEFT,
SAME THING IS HAPPENING IN 2018.
SO HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN THAT?
>> WELL, NUMBER ONE, IT'S THE
GOOD WORK THAT THE POLICE
OFFICERS ARE DOING.
>> YEAH, YOU'RE GETTING THE JOB
DONE ANYWAY.
>> BUT OVERDOSES.
OVERDOSE VICTIMS ARE NOT A CRIME
STATISTIC.
THEY SHOULD BE A CRIME STATISTIC
BECAUSE IT'S BECAUSE OF DRUGS,
OKAY?
SO TELL THOSE FAMILIES THAT
THEY'RE NOT A CRIME STATISTIC.
THEY'RE BEING TORN APART.
YOU KNOW, THESE FAMILIES OF
THESE OPIOID EPIDEMIC.
AND AGAIN, YOU KNOW, WE'RE DOWN
IN 1998, WE HAD 70 DETECTIVES IN
NARCOTICS.
NOW WE'RE DOWN TO 29.
AND YOU HAVE TO GO OUT PRO
ACTIVELY.
WHEN THERE IS A DRUG DEAL GOING
ON, A BUYER AND SELLER, NOBODY
IS CALLING THE COPS.
SO THAT CRIME GOES UNREPORTED.
SO THAT'S NOT A STATISTIC.
>> YEAH.
YOU KNOW, NASSAU COUNTY DISTRICT
ATTORNEY CALLED NASSAU COUNTY
THE SAFEST LARGEST COUNTY IN THE
WHOLE STATE.
IS SHE RIGHT?
>> IT IS A SAFE CITY.
BUT WE DO HAVE SIGNIFICANT
ISSUES WITH MS 13.
ONE KILLING IS TOO MANY.
>> RIGHT.
SO WHAT DOES POLICE COMMISSIONER
PATRICK RIDER SAY ABOUT THE
SITUATION?
>> COMMISSIONER IS ON OUR SIDE.
HE AGREES WITH THE FACT THAT WE
DO NEED MORE DETECTIVES.
WE ARE PRO ACTIVE LEADERS TO THE
DETECTIVE ASSOCIATION GOING OUT
TO TALK TO POLICE OFFICERS AND
COMMISSIONER RIDER IS DOING THE
SAME THING TO TRY TO ATTRACT THE
POLICE OFFICERS INTO BECOMING
DETECTIVES.
HE'S ON OUR SIDE.
IF WE HAD THE SUBMISSIONS OF
POLICE OFFICERS, HE WOULD MAKE
THEM DETECTIVES.
>> AND WHAT ABOUT NASSAU COUNTY
EXECUTIVE LAURA CURRENT?
SHE ULTIMATELY RESPONSIBLE,
RIGHT?
SO WHAT IS SHE SAYING WHEN YOU
TALK TO HER ABOUT THIS?
>> SHE AGREES.
WITH HE TOLD HER THE ISSUES.
SHE AGREES WE NEED MORE
DETECTIVES AND HAS TO GO THROUGH
COLLECTIVE BARGAINING.
RIGHT NOW WE'RE A YEAR WITHOUT A
CONTRACT.
SHE SAYS WE HAVE TO DO IT
THROUGH COLLECTIVE BARGAINING.
WE'RE READY TO GO.
WE NEED TO SIT DOWN.
>> SO SHE DOESN'T SEE THE
URGENCY IN THE SITUATION LIKE DO
YOU?
>> SHE SEES IT.
BUT SHE HAS TO ACT ON IT.
WE USED TO HAVE SUBMISSIONS OF
30 PEOPLE IN EVERY PRESINCT TO
BE DETECTIVE NOW WE'RE GETTING
FIVE FOR THE WHOLE COUNTY.
WE HAVE SIX AND EIGHT PRESINCT
OPENING UP.
THEY WERE CLOSED SEVERAL YEARS
AGO.
THE COMMUNITY SHOULD HAVE THEM
REOPENED.
WE DON'T HAVE ENOUGH DETECTIVES
TO PUT IN THOSE TWO SPOTS.
SO THEY'RE GOING TO BE REOPENED
WITHOUT DETECTIVES.
>> WOW.
>> YOU NO HE?
>> SO WHAT IS YOUR THINKING?
ARE YOU OPTIMISTIC ABOUT THE
POSSIBILITY OF THIS PROBLEM WILL
BE RESOLVED SOON?
>> I AM OPTIMISTIC.
AND I'M LOOKING FORWARD TO
SITTING DOWN WITH THE COUNTY
EXECUTIVE AND START COLLECTIVE
BARGAINING SO WE CAN RESOLVE
THIS ISSUE AND GET THE DETECTIVE
DIVISION BACK TO WRIT BELONGS.
>> ALL RIGHT.
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING
US.
>> THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

Mutual of America PSEG

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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