It was near midnight when a pair of Nassau police officers, part of the elite Bureau of Special Operations, pulled over a car on Jackson Street in Hempstead in late November.
The three men inside seemed “extremely nervous,” said one of the cops, Officer Robert Psomas. “You never know what you’re going to find on a stop. We felt that probably something wasn’t right.”
They got the men out of the vehicle and questioned them and then made a discovery: On the floor of the car lay a handgun loaded with nine rounds of ammunition.
“It’s a pretty intimidating thing,” said Psomas’ partner, Officer Jeffrey Toscano. “It’s very dangerous sometimes the work we do. Especially afterward, when you think about it, you get a little scared, and think, ‘wow, it could have been really bad.’ But thank God everything went well and nobody got hurt.”
Psomas and Toscano were named Top Cops of the month Monday and given citations from the Nassau County Legislature and the Police Benevolent Association.
PBA President James Carver said the officers faced one of the most dangerous situations in police work: dealing with jittery suspects with a loaded gun.
“This was not a routine traffic stop by any stretch of the imagination,” said Carver. “That’s something that concerns a police officer more than anything else in the workd, when you can’t see their hands.”
Arrested and charged with various counts of weapons possession were Hempstead residents Duane R. Lewis, 24, and Kadeem A. Lewis, 22, both of Bedell Street, and David Williams, Jr., 20, of Jefferson Place.
Lewis pleaded guilty to unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle and the weapons charges were dropped, according to online court records. He received a $200 fine and a 1-year conditonal discharge. Kadeem Lewis’ cases is still pending and the status of David Williams’ charges was unclear. Their defense attorneys could not be reched.
Acting Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter praised the officers and said the 64 officers assigned to BSO make a high number of arrests, typically 20 to 30 each annually.
“This is a dangerous situation, you have a car stopped, you have truly violent offenders that are in possession of a firemarm,” said Krumpter. “Due to the great job that they did, they were able to arrests these offenders without anybody being injured. They’ve done a great job here and made Nassau County a safer place.”