Nassau County lawmakers have approved a new contract with the Nassau County Police Department’s Detective’s Association (DAI) that county and union officials hope will solve a detective shortage.
County legislators voted Jan. 27 to approve the contract, which runs eight and a half years. The same day, the Nassau County Police Department has promoted 24 police officers to Detective, helping to fill gaps in the detective squads in the Sixth and Eighth Precincts. The Nassau Interim Finance Authority approved the pact last week.
“This deal will boost law enforcement’s ability to fight crime and safeguard our communities,” said Nassau County Executive Curran.
The deal is the first deal that the Curran administration has struck with one of the county’s unions. Negotiations are ongoing with the larger Nassau Police Benevolent Association that represents the county’s patrol officers and the Civil Service Employee’s Association, which represents thousands of other county workers.
“This contract with its raises and new grade structure provides a career path not only for police officers, but just as important it will retain many of the current senior members of the detective division who will train and mentor these new detectives,” said DAI President John Wighaus. “The contract will incentivize police officers to apply for the designation of detective.”
Wighaus said the county has about 300 detectives and had a shortage of 60 when the contract was passed. Seven detectives had gone back to being patrol officers before the deal was struck because financial incentives had been better. Since the deal, he’s gotten 20 requests from officers asking to be promoted to detective.
The new contract, which was ratified by the DAI in late December, includes a total wage increase of 15 percent and shortens the period to get to top pay from 75 months to 48. The contract also remedies the chronic shortage of detectives by establishing a career path to recruit and retain detectives by creating a second tier for those who don’t want to become supervisors.
In addition, it offers concessions to help the county grapple with perennial financial trouble. Detectives will work more hours, which will increase police presence, and they will begin contributing to their health insurance starting next year. It will also slowly reduce the entitlement to termination pay over time.
“With this agreement, Nassau County has implemented a long-term framework that the Legislature’s Independent Office of Budget Review has determined will increase the level of dedicated public safety resources by addressing the critical detective shortage in a manner that effectively manages future costs to Nassau taxpayers,” said Nassau County Legislature Minority Leader Kevan M. Abrahams (D-Freeport).