Nassau PBA, commissioner spar over assault rifles for patrol officers

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Nassau PBA President James McDermott and Commissioner Patrick Ryder held dueling opinions at a news conference Thursday over the issue of arming patrol officers with semi-automatic rifles.

Semi-automatic rifles are currently used by specialized units such as the Bureau of Special Operations and the Emergency Services Unit in Nassau County.

McDermott says patrol officers should be trained and given those precision rifles as soon as possible.

Commissioner Ryder says he plans on training 24 problem-oriented police officers to use the rifles, but he says not every patrol officer should have them.

Commissioner Ryder says one issue is that patrol cars would need to be upgraded to an Explorer if they added rifles. He says some cars may not fit the necessary lock-box in the back.

The PBA called on the Nassau County executive and legislators to intervene in the disagreement.

In a statement, County Executive Laura Curran said “Commissioner Ryder's assessment of the county's operational needs is right on point.”

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