Nassau police use video from Black student group in bias training for recruits

Black high school students on the Island making a big push for police reform and their emotional video is now part of the training plans at the Nassau Police Department.

News 12 Staff

Apr 16, 2021, 2:44 AM

Updated 1,099 days ago

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Black high school students on the Island making a big push for police reform and their emotional video is now part of the training plans at the Nassau Police Department.
"For far too long we asked you to see us, see us in a positive light, not a negative one," said one member of The Men of Elmont in a YouTube video.
"I don't want to think that my life is in jeopardy when I get pulled over or have an encounter with an officer," said another.
The video was made by a group of seniors at Elmont Memorial High School, telling stories of their encounters with police.
The Men of Elmont is a mentoring program formed by their principal Kevin Dougherty and former school security guard Raymond Ramos.
The group meets to talk about a variety of different topics, but after George Floyd was killed, the young men felt the need to get involved.
During the pandemic, the students recorded themselves talking about their experiences with police officers and even offering solutions to improve relations between the Nassau County police and communities of color.
"These are people who are supposed to protect and serve, be those heroes in our community, people we look up to, yet many of us have to live in fear, many are scared to interact with them or be pulled over by them," said Andrew Candio.
The students say most of the time when they see the police officers in their community is when something bad is happening or when someone is being arrested. They say they'd rather have a more positive interaction with police.
The video is already sparking change.
Nassau Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder has made it a part of the bias training that these new class of police recruits receive at the police academy. Just one of many efforts to expand community policing as part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's reform plan.
"We want the community to trust us, and we are going to be an open book and show that trust," said Ryder.
As the soon-to-be police officers watched the video, they gained a new perspective.
"It's something that was a long time in the making, it had to happen, and I'm glad to be a part of it now," said recruit Adam Milack.
The Men of Elmont say this is just the beginning and more still needs to be done.
"Let's stop the disconnect and let's re-connect and make our community better," a member said in the video.
The Men of Elmont is also a mentoring program at Elmont High School. It provides a safe space for the boys while also giving them tools and strategies to be successful in life.


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