Nassau officials call on county to reinstate special gang-oriented police units

The Problem Oriented police officers, or POP cops, were put back into uniformed patrol last week. (5/28/14)

HEMPSTEAD - Some Nassau lawmakers are calling on the county to bring back special police units that focus on gang and gun violence.

Democratic legislators are calling on County Executive Ed Mangano and Acting Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter to reinstate four dozen recently reassigned plainclothes officers. The Problem Oriented police officers, or POP cops, were put back into uniformed patrol last week.

Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams (D-Freeport) says POP cops are instrumental in curtailing gang and gun violence. He says there is a clear void without them on the streets.

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A spokesperson for Mangano says gang violence will not rise as a result of the recent change, pointing out that the 45 individuals temporarily reassigned represent less than 2 percent of the police force.

Legislator Abrahams suggests that the county could pay to reinstall the POP cops by using asset forfeiture funds. But, a police spokesperson said it is illegal to use those funds to pay for "budgeted operational expenses."

Last week, the police department announced it would bring back the team designated to stop drunken drivers by using asset forfeiture funds.

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