Nassau police union again warns of public risk due to detective shortage

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The Nassau County Detectives Association is once again warning that public safety could be at risk because of a detective shortage.

Union President John Wighaus says it's time for county lawmakers to immediately correct the significant shortage of detectives. While its budget allows for 360 detectives, the department has just 309 as of Tuesday.

The union and Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder agree on the reason behind the shortage. They say under an old contractual agreement that remains in effect, patrol officers who seek and receive a promotion to detective are facing a reality of uncertain hours and stressful cases, all for a decrease in take-home pay.

"It doesn't make any sense," Ryder says.

But where the union and police brass differ is on the current state of affairs. Ryder says crime is down countywide, even with a detective shortage. Wighaus warns that could change, and some members of the Nassau Legislature's Public Safety Committee expressed similar concerns.

"I think its unfair to the residents as well," says Legislator Denise Ford.

Ryder says he'd like to hire as many detectives as possible. But while the county and the detectives union are currently engaged in negotiations, he's not in the room. Instead, County Executive Laura Curran's representatives are in talks with union leaders.

Ryder says the county has four upcoming scheduled meetings with detectives union leaders.

All of Nassau's major law enforcement unions are currently negotiating new contracts with the county.

Read more:
Nassau police union pleas for more detectives to fight gangs
Union: Detective shortage could hurt fight against gangs, drugs

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