A Force to Be Reckoned With: Nassau’s female tactical officers

Officer Nicole Clementson is one of only two female tactical officers on Long Island.

Clementson is part of the Bureau of Special Operations, Nassau's version of a SWAT team. The elite group happens to be mostly men. These tactical officers face the most dangerous and violent situations, including tense standoffs and rescues.

She typically starts her day with a workout.

"It's good to keep the body in good shape, especially for what we do and the amount of weight that we carry with our gear," she says.

Clementson earns high praise from her supervisor.

"She is very conscientious and a hard worker," says Sgt. Joe Grella.

As well as her teammates.

"Do you think she can keep up with the men?" News 12 Long Island reporter Talia Kaplan asked Clementson's partner.

"I think the men better keep up with her," answered Officer Alfredo Rodriguez.

The job includes checking up on places prone to crime. On the day News 12 rode along, they went to the Jewish Community Center in Plainview following a recent bomb threat. While they determined the building was safe, BSO officers have to be ready for anything. That's why they train at least once a week.

"You have to train the same way you are going to fight, and you have to fight the way that you are training," she says.

Clementson gave Kaplan a taste of her training ritual. It starts with strapping on 30 pounds of gear. Kaplan's task was to break down a heavy metal door using a 30-pound ram. After 10 failed attempts by Kaplan, Clementson got it on the first try. 

"It's not a man's world, it's everybody's world," she says. "And if we can have kids, we can be tactical officers as well ... so it's possible for anyone to do it."

Suffolk County is yet to have a female officer assigned to its Emergency Service Section.


The department said in a statement, "We have yet to have a female officer assigned to our Emergency Service Section. ES is an elite and demanding unit that requires candidates to go through an extensive screening and selection process. All our officers, regardless of gender, are capable of and encouraged to request a transfer to ES if they feel they have what it takes to succeed in Emergency Service."

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