Nassau County police are hiring their first class of 37 new recruits in five years—a turnaround from unfulfilled threats of police layoffs that preceded a wave of payroll-trimming retirements in recent years.
Officials will hold a swearing-in ceremony at police headquarters in Mineola on Friday before the class of cadets spend the next seven months of physical, technical and legal training at the department’s academy in Massapequa.
“I am very excited about hiring police officers,” First Deputy Police Commission Tom Krumpter said at an East Meadow community meeting last month. “We haven’t hired a police officer in Nassau County since September of 2008… New blood is going to be welcomed.”
Krumpter said the new class is the first of three, possibly four, that will result in the hiring of between 150 and 200 new police officers by the end of the year, depending upon the attrition rate.
An average of between 100 and 120 members of the department retire or separate annually, meaning there is an expected net gain of about 100 officers with the new hires, he told a crowd of residents. The department had 2,223 members as of April 24.
James Carver, president of the Nassau County Police Benevolent Association—the union that represents the department’s rank-and-file patrol officers—questioned Krumpter’s math since most cadets won’t graduate until next year, when there will be more attrition.
“They’re behind the eight ball as it is already,” Carver said, noting that the department has lost 500 members since January of 2009 and will need another three classes next year to reverse the tide. “It’s going to be two years before they catch up.”
The new recruits are the first class to be hired off of a four-year-old list of candidates, which is good through September. If there is a fourth class—Krumpter estimated possibly in December—those recruits would be from list generated by than 15,000 applicants projected to have passed the Nassau police exam offered last summer.
The physical, mental and background investigation into selected applicants can take up to six months, but only about half of those the department has called on for follow up interviews have responded, Carver said.
And up to 45 percent of applicants fail the physical agility test, said Krumpter, who issued an open call to the public: “If you know anybody on that list, make sure they’re in shape.”
Starting salary for Nassau police officers is $34,000, which increases to $107,319 after nine years, not including overtime, shift differential, holiday pay, uniform allowance, health benefits and a pension after 20 years of service.