Nassau County Police Department

Nassau County Police Department
Nassau County Police Department
Abbreviation NCPD
Patch of the Nassau County Police Department.
NY - Nassau County Police Seal.png
Seal of the Nassau County Police Department
NY - Nassau County Police Flag.png
Flag of the Nassau County Police Department.
Agency overview
Formed 1925
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdiction* County (US) of Nassau in the state of New York, USA
Map of New York highlighting Nassau County.svg
Map of Nassau County Police Department's jurisdiction.
Size 287 square miles (Land)[1]
166 square miles (Water)
Population 1,334,544
Legal jurisdiction Nassau County, New York
General nature
Operational structure
Police Officers 2,550 (2010)[2]
Police Commissioner [Acting] responsible Thomas Krumpter
Agency executive Steven Skrynecki, Chief
Precincts 8
Official Site
* Divisional agency: Division of the country, over which the agency has usual operational jurisdiction.

The Nassau County Police Department is the law enforcement agency of Nassau County, New York.



In 1925, concerned about rising crime rates, the County Board of Supervisors voted to create the Nassau County Police Department, replacing a scattered system of constables and town and village police departments. (Some jurisdictions declined to join the police district, however, and maintain their own independent police forces to this day.) Consisting initially of Chief of Police (later Commissioner) Abram Skidmore, 55 officers and a fingerprint expert, the force grew to 450 officers by 1932 and reached 650 officers by the time Skidmore retired in 1945.

The Sixth Precinct of the NCPD in Manhasset.

The expansion accelerated dramatically following World War II with the rapid suburbanization of the county. It reached 1,000 officers in six precincts by 1950. A seventh precinct was opened in 1955 and an eighth followed five years later. In the early 1970s, with crime and civil disorder in neighboring New York City and other cities a major concern, the force was boosted to its greatest strength, nearly 4,200 officers. Since then, it has declined to around 2,600, making it still one of the largest county police agencies in the United States.

Nevertheless, the department's reduced size has been a source of controversy, with the village of Mineola exploring the idea of seceding from the police district and establishing its own police force.[3] On Dec. 5th, 2006, however, the village's voters decisively rejected the proposal, 2936 to 1288.[4]

In October 2011, the Nassau County legislature voted on a budget that will have the effect of closing two of the eight precincts. The precincts have not yet been identified.

The NCPD's guiding philosophy is that it is a "service-oriented" police department, promoting the concept of the community as client, and the police as provider. (For example, officers will come to a citizen's home to take a crime report or complaint, rather than ask the citizen to come to the precinct.) Sociologist James Q. Wilson used the Nassau department as the exemplar of this approach in his classic 1968 study, Varieties of Police Behavior.


Chevy Impala patrol vehicle at Hempstead Turnpike and Merrick Ave. These are being replaced by Crown Vics, and Dodge Chargers for Highway Patrol.

The department has historically been quick to embrace new technologies. The Marine Bureau began in 1933 with the gift of an 18-foot Chris Craft mahogany speedboat from the residents of Manhasset Bay. The Aviation Bureau followed a year later with the gift of a Stinson airplane from wealthy county residents. The aircraft was grounded by World War II, but the air unit was revived in 1968 with the purchase of four helicopters to assist in pursuits and medical evacuations. The Highway Patrol unit, which covers the Long Island Expressway and the Seaford-Oyster Bay Expressway and includes motorcycle officers, was founded in 1935. All police vehicles are now equipped with computer keyboards, and, since 1973, air conditioning.

In addition to these units, the department also maintains many features, such as a Detective Bureau, a police academy, a mounted unit, an arson/bomb squad, a hostage negotiation team, a citizen-based auxiliary police program, and an Emergency Services Unit (ESU), that are usually found only in the police departments of large cities. The department has also adopted its own system for computerized tracking of crime information known as NASSTAT.

A Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor model NCPD marked patrol vehicle parked at Booth F in Wantagh. These cars are replacing older "Vics" and Impalas.
Patrol boat in Port Washington

Traffic safety is a major department priority, given Nassau's relative lack of public transportation and its perpetually clogged roads and highways. A unique feature of the department is its Children's Safety Town, an actual village built to 1/3 scale that includes paved streets, two intersections equipped with traffic signals, an overpass, two tunnels, a simulated railroad crossing and 21 buildings. Managed by the department's Traffic Safety Unit, it allows the NCPD to teach traffic and bicycle safety to grade schoolers under controlled conditions.

In 1989, concerned about the increasingly heavy weaponry being carried by criminals, the NCPD was among the first police departments in the country to trade their venerable 6 shot .38 Smith & Wesson revolvers for the 15-round, nine-millimeter SIG P226 semi-automatic pistol. More recently, the department announced it is switching over to the SIG P229 and SIG P226, chambered for .40 S&W with the Double Action Kellerman (DAK) trigger and integral accessory rail as the new standard firearm. Also, officers are re-equipping with expandable batons to replace the straight wooden nightstick.

In 1995, the NCPD became the largest police department in the country to that time, and the first in New York State, to allow its officers to work a steady 12-hour shift, rather than a rotating 8-hour shift commencing at a different time each week.[5] In early 2007, the NCPD announced that 207 marked patrol vehicles would be equipped with Global Positioning System (GPS) devices, allowing "live" views of the location of all active units.[6]

In late 2006, the department undertook "Operation Gotcha,"[7] deploying a new technology that scans the license plate numbers of passing vehicles directly into a mobile crime computer, allowing the immediate apprehension of drivers operating vehicles with expired licenses, suspended registrations or with outstanding arrest warrants. The technology allows the scanning of literally thousands of plates in a single shift.

Rank structure

Promotion to the ranks of sergeant, detective sergeant, lieutenant, detective lieutenant, and captain, detective captain, are made via competitive civil service examinations. Promotion to the ranks of detective, deputy inspector, inspector and chief are made at the discretion of the police commissioner.

Title Insignia
Police Commissioner
Chief of Department
4 Gold Stars.svg
Chief of Division
3 Gold Stars.svg
Assistant Chief
2 Gold Stars.svg
Deputy Chief
1 Gold Star.svg
Colonel Gold.png
Deputy Inspector
US-O4 insignia.svg
Detective Captain
Captain insignia gold.svg
Detective Lieutenant
Detective Sergeant
NYPD Sergeant Stripes.svg
Police Officer

Auxiliary Police

A Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor model Nassau County Auxiliary Police marked patrol vehicle parked at the 4th Precinct parking lot. The majority of Auxiliary Police cars are retired marked NCPD cars.

The Nassau County Auxiliary Police is a unit of the Nassau County Police Department. These volunteer police officers are assigned to 1 of 38 local community units and perform routine patrols of the neighborhood and provide traffic control for local parades, races, other community events and assist the Police Department as needed. Auxiliary Police officers are empowered to make arrests for crimes that occur in their presence.

Nassau County Auxiliary Police officers must attend and complete a 6 month basic training course, which is taught by state-certified instructors at the Nassau County Police Academy. Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) training is also available to all officers after certain criteria is met. Basic academy training includes: peace officer powers, New York State penal law, hazardous materials awareness, baton training, blood-borne pathogens, basic first aid/CPR, traffic and pedestrian control, and response to critical incidents.

Auxiliary Police officers are certified by the NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) as "Peace Officers" and are registered in the NYS DCJS registry of peace officers.

Emergency Ambulance Bureau

NCPD 7th Precinct Ambulance 2357

In addition to police officers, the department also employs hundreds of civilian Ambulance Medical Technicians (AMT's) which consist of Critical Care Technicians (EMT-CC's) and Paramedics (EMT-P's), emergency telephone operators and school crossing guards.

Unlike most jurisdictions, where emergency medical response and ambulance transport are functions performed primarily by the fire department, in Nassau, the police, private ambulance companies, and local fire departments share this responsibility. Nassau is one of the few police agencies in New York State that trains all of its police officers to provide emergency medical services. Police ambulances, however, are manned by tan & green-uniformed AMTs rather than police officers.

The department operates 18-26 Braun Type-III modular-style ambulances on any given day, each designated a 4 digit unit number 23xx. All ambulances are advanced life support ambulances and carry heart monitors, defibrillators, oxygen, trauma dressings and other vital equipment.

The NCPD Emergency Ambulance Bureau covers over 60,000 calls per year with just 22 ambulances, and works closely with local fire departments and municipal law enforcement agencies. Ambulance 2350, based out of the 3rd and 6th Precincts in the Hempstead village area is the department's busiest ambulance.

A small number of EAB personnel are designated "Tactical AMTs," specially trained and equipped to operate with the NCPD's Bureau of Special Operations to rescue wounded officers and civilians under fire.

After finding the abandoned bodies of a number of newborn children, Nassau AMT Timothy Jaccard and several of his colleagues in the Emergency Ambulance Bureau founded the AMT Children of Hope Foundation,[8] to give these children proper funerals and dignified burials.

Famous cases

The Nassau County Police have investigated a number of nationally well-known crimes and incidents, including the hunt for The Honeymoon Killers Raymond Fernandez and Martha Beck in the late 1940s,[9] the Weinberger kidnapping[10] of 1956 (on which the 2002 Robert DeNiro film City by the Sea was very loosely based), the crash of Avianca Flight 52 in Cove Neck in 1990, the Joey Buttafuoco/Amy Fisher imbroglio, and the shootings committed aboard a Long Island Rail Road commuter train by Colin Ferguson in 1993. Among the NCPD's few large-scale, high-profile security events have been the 1998 Goodwill Games, which took place largely in Nassau County, and the third 2008 presidential debate, which took place at Hofstra University in Hempstead. Nassau officers also participated in the recovery effort at the World Trade Center site in September 2001.

Personnel issues

Nassau officers (along with the neighboring Suffolk County Police Department) have become known in recent years for their exceptionally high rate of pay, especially as compared with the nearby New York City Police Department. In July 2007, a state arbitrator awarded Nassau officers a substantial pay hike, bringing those with nine years seniority eventually to a top salary of $116,955 annually,[11] not counting benefits, overtime and night differential. If past practice is any guide, the increase will likely set a pattern to be matched and surpassed by the Suffolk County Police.

As a result of this disparity, many NYPD officers have joined the Nassau force.[12] Typically, between one-third and one-half of the recruits in every Nassau police academy class are former city officers.[13] A police exam took place between Aug. 13-18, 2007.

Police pay has been a contentious issue in the county for well over a decade. In 2000, the state formed a financial oversight authority to monitor the county's budget. On Jan. 27, 2011, after several public warnings, the authority moved to take control of the county's finances. In this atmosphere, the police budget is likely to come in for close scrutiny going forward.[14]

Hiring on the Nassau force has also long been a bone of contention, with African-Americans, Hispanics and other groups, often supported by the U.S. Justice Department, claiming the hiring process is biased toward white males. The county has denied any intentional discrimination, and there have been repeated recruiting drives aimed at convincing more minorities to take the police exam, which itself has been repeatedly redesigned with the aim of supposedly making it fairer. White candidates have disputed this, claiming the test is now biased against them.[15] These controversies have led to numerous lawsuits, which have repeatedly delayed hiring over the last two decades and account in part for the force's shrinking size.

Another major point of contention between the county government and the police union in recent years has been inadequate police academy training facilities. After being located for several years in a converted elementary school in Williston Park, the academy facilities were "temporarily" relocated for a decade in trailers on the grounds of the county jail in East Meadow. In May 2006, the Suozzi administration announced the academy would move into yet another converted school, this one in Massapequa, by the end of the year.[16] The first class of recruits to train in the new facility entered in early January 2007.

The department is headed by a civilian commissioner, appointed by the county executive. On June 28, 2007, former County Executive Thomas Suozzi announced Lawrence Mulvey, a 28-year veteran of the department who retired in 2001 with the rank of inspector, as the 12th commissioner.[17] Mulvey announced his retirement on Feb. 3, 2011 and a search has commenced for his successor.

Cultural references

Living in the shadow of the camera-ready NYPD means almost no films or television programs feature the NCPD. Among the few are 1985's Compromising Positions, starring Susan Sarandon, Raul Julia and Edward Herrmann, and 1999's Pushing Tin, starring John Cusack, Billy Bob Thornton and Angelina Jolie. Real-life Nassau County Police Detective Elmer Robinson, played by John Travolta, is the protagonist of the 2007 film Lonely Hearts, a fictionalized depiction of the hunt for murderers Raymond Fernandez and Martha Beck. The Nassau County Police is also featured in the movie Goodfellas.

Also, the NCPD Mounted Unit can be seen every year at the finish line saluting the winner of the Belmont Stakes.

Fallen officers

In the 86 year history of the Nassau County Police Department, 32 police officers have died while on duty.[1] An automobile accident on Saturday, February 5, 2011 involving Officer Michael J. Califano brought to an end the nearly 18 year period where not one active duty Officer of the NCPD was killed.

See also

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  1. ^ See, The World Almanac and Book of Facts, 2006 Edition, p. 535
  2. ^
  3. ^ Board of Trustees Rejects Bids for Police Study: Public Will Get to Vote on Possible Mineola Police This Year, Mineola American, August 18, 2006
  4. ^ Residents Make Statement Against Village Police Department, Mineola American, December 15, 2006
  5. ^ McQuiston, John T. (January 9, 1995). "In Revising Police Shifts, Nassau Joins A U.S. Trend". The New York Times. Retrieved May 19, 2010. 
  6. ^ "GPS Devices Installed in Nassau Police Vehicles". The Northender. January 10, 2007. 
  7. ^ N.Y. police scan cars with high-tech cameras, Website
  8. ^ AMT Children of Hope Foundation
  9. ^ Martha Beck and Raymond Fernandez: Lonely Hearts Killers/Honeymoon Killers
  10. ^ FBI Famous Cases: The Weinberger Kidnapping
  11. ^ "Nassau Police force gets pay rate hikes". Newsday. July 2, 2007.,0,4008231.story?coll=ny-top-headlines. 
  12. ^ Pierre-Pierre, Garry (October 8, 1995). "They're Tried, They're True, But How Long Do They Stay?". The New York Times. 
  13. ^ Kilgannon, Corey (May 22, 2007). "With High Pay, Long Island Police Jobs Draw Stampede". The New York Times. Retrieved May 19, 2010. 
  14. ^ "High Police Pay Fuels Nassau's Squeeze". The Wall Street Journal. Feb. 4, 2011. 
  15. ^ "Quota Hires in Blue". The Weekly Standard. April 14, 1997. 
  16. ^ Suozzi Announces New Police Academy to Open in Massapequa -- Larger Facility More Than Doubles Square Footage of Current Academy; Includes New Intelligence Center
  17. ^ "Mulvey to return as Nassau's top cop". Newsday. June 28, 2007.,0,3448261.story?coll=ny-viewpoints-headlines&track=mostemailedlink. 

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