Unions: Nassau police officers filling in for crossing guards, not fighting crime

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MINEOLA -

Nassau's police union and the union representing crossing guards say county police officers are being forced to fill in for civilian crossing guards instead of fighting crime.

The Nassau PBA complains that having officers stationed at crossings keeps them from doing their real job.

For decades, the crossing guard positions used to be full-time with benefits. But now the county only hires part-time with no benefits, a change Ed Mangano's administration made to save money. Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder says that's why the county is having a hard time hiring crossing guards, as shown at a recent recruitment event.

A legislative hearing on crossing guard shortage comes as the county and police union are currently engaged in contract negotiations. The president of CSEA, the union representing crossing guards, says the problem can easily be fixed if the current administration agrees to raise the wage of part-time crossing guards.

A spokesperson for County Executive Laura Curran tells News 12 that Nassau is planning to raise the part-time rate for crossing guards from $18 an hour to $25. The county says it will soon begin an aggressive recruitment campaign to hire more crossing guards by September.

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