Nassau County lawmakers approved a $675,000 contract with an outside consultant that will develop a new ethics policy for the county police department, which aims to repair its image after recent scandals.
The rules committee of the county legislature voted unanimously Monday to hire Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit research and policy group that will poll officials and the public, issue a report and provide new police academy ethics curriculum.
“This is all about building trust with the community,” Acting Nassau County Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter told legislators who questioned why an outside consultant was needed. “We recognize that moving forward we want to have an ethics policy that ensures that…we build trust.”
Krumpter’s predecessor, Thomas Dale, was fired last year for arresting a Roosevelt man in a politically charged election case. Three top cops have been convicted in the past year of conspiring to cover up a burglary. And last week, an officer pleaded guilty to misconduct for spending his shifts with his mistress.
“We have had some problems,” Steven Skrynecki, chief of department, said during an East Meadow community meeting last month in which he discussed hiring the ethics consultant. “We recognize that.”
PERF will develop new ethics training for officers as well as police brass, according to Krumpter, who said that the legislature will be updated every 60 days on the progress in the 18-month project—most of which he expects to be completed in the first six months. The commissioner added that the final report will be made public.
Legis. Carrié Solages (D-Elmont) asked Krumpter specifically about what PERF will do to ensure scandals like those surrounding Dale aren’t repeated, but the commissioner declined to discuss specific cases in public.
“We just want to make sure that any package of reforms that we plan to vote for…we want to make sure that they’re going bring real reform,” said Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams (D-Freeport).
Krumpter, who said that 99 percent of the department’s members are honest, told the panel that he doesn’t plan to spend six figures and not put the final product to use.
“Like anything else, the devil’s in the details,” he said. “I certainly have no intention of spending $675,000 and not having anything at the end of this.”
The contract was approved on the same day as charges were dropped against an alleged Nassau police brutality victim.