(MINEOLA, N.Y.) - The Nassau County Legislature Democratic Minority’s amendments to County Executive Bruce Blakeman’s proposed Fiscal Year 2023 budget would provide $5,582,350 in additional funding for 110 new Nassau County Police Department officers - 25 of whom would be assigned to a new countywide Hate Crimes division - Nassau County Legislature Minority Leader Kevan M. Abrahams (D - Freeport) announced today.
Filed on Friday, Oct. 14, the Minority Caucus budget amendments would additionally provide $700,000 toward restoring recidivism prevention resource programs that were recently canceled by the District Attorney’s office, Minority Leader Abrahams added.
This fiscally responsible $6,282,350 enhancement of the County’s investment in public safety resources would equate to just a fraction of Nassau’s forecasted fiscal year 2023 surplus, which ranges from $52.9 million to $60.4 million based on the County Comptroller’s projections.
“All indicators point toward the fact that Nassau County government is currently enjoying its strongest fiscal posture in many years. Years of hard work and fiscal discipline have brought us to this juncture,” Minority Leader Abrahams and the caucus stated in the budget amendment narrative. “It is the belief of the Minority Caucus that this confluence of circumstances provides us with the opportunity to invest additional resources in law enforcement for the purpose of enhancing community policing initiatives, combating hate crimes, and re-establishing crucial recidivism prevention resource programs for individuals who are seeking to better themselves and turn their lives around.”
The amendments reflect the recommendations and feedback provided by law enforcement professionals and community advocates. During an Oct. 6, 2022 budget hearing focused upon the Nassau County Police Department, testimony from Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder indicated the need for more police officers to increase visibility in local communities through foot and bicycle patrols.
The creation of a hate crimes division within the police department was similarly borne of recommendations from advocacy groups representing Nassau County’s diverse multi-ethnic communities. This recommendation was delivered to a subcommittee of the Legislature’s Public Safety committee that was established to probe bias incidents targeting populations that include but are not limited to Nassau County’s Black, Hispanic, Caribbean, Jewish, Asian/Pacific Islander and LGBTQ+ populations.
Adopting the Minority Caucus’ proposed budget amendments would also ensure that Nassau County has a dedicated recidivism prevention program in place after the District Attorneys’ office disbanded the Community Partnership Program (CPP) in June 2022. The Minority’s amendment would ensure stable funding for a program that includes but is not limited to job readiness resources; education and vocation training; mental health and substance abuse treatment; and other forms of ongoing support.
Funding for the new officers and the recidivism prevention program would be covered by tapping into $5 million from the County Executive’s proposed contingency line, and $1,282,000 from funded but vacant positions that historically are unable to be filled during the first three months of the year.
“The Minority Legislature’s proposed budget amendments are fiscally conservative in how they seek to reduce expenditures and reallocate those savings toward providing much-needed public safety resources as evidenced by the testimony in the Oct. 6 and 12, 2022 budget hearings,” Minority Leader Abrahams and the caucus members stated.
Click here to read the Budget Amendment.