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Nassau police pay tribute to officers killed in Baton Rouge

Nassau Police Officers stand at attention and salute

Nassau Police Officers stand at attention and salute as they have a moment of silence at the police memorial to honor the fallen Baton Rouge Police Officers on Monday, July 18, 2016 in Mineola. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Nassau County police led a tribute Monday to the eight slain police officers killed in attacks in Baton Rogue and Dallas, mourning the second deadly attack on their law enforcement colleagues in 10 days, in a ceremony at the police officers’ memorial outside department headquarters in Mineola.

Dozens of uniformed Nassau police officers lined up to salute as officials laid a wreath at the memorial in honor of the three police officers slain Sunday morning in Baton Rouge and the five police officers killed July 7 in Dallas. The names of the eight officers names were read.

Nassau Chief of Department Steven Skrynecki said the department wanted to stand in solidarity with its fellow officers at a difficult time for law enforcement, though the chief stressed his department’s strong relations with the local community. After the Dallas attack, Skrynecki said, residents brought flowers and food to precincts to show support.

“Police officers accept, very willingly, the inherent dangers of policing and understand those dangers, but don’t really expect we would be subject to sniper fire, as we’ve seen apparently in these last two events ... this brings it to a new level, a different level,” Skrynecki said. “Right now, I think it’s important for law enforcement officers across the country to feel any support that their local communities can provide them and be assured there’s a small group of people that may be disenchanted with law enforcement in this country, but by and large, there are many people who are supportive. We’re very fortunate that here in Nassau County, we do feel that support significantly.”

Nassau police on Sunday ordered officers to double-up in patrol cars as a safety measure in response to the Baton Rouge attack. Skrynecki said officer safety is one of its top priorities and the department will continue to monitor events nationally and locally to determine how long the measure stays in place.

Chief Deputy County Executive Rob Walker attended the ceremony and expressed condolences to the families on behalf of the county.

Police Benevolent Association President James Carver said police need support from the community “now more than ever.”

“There’s a nervousness that gets in everybody,” Carver said of officers. “They’re concerned about what’s going on with policing in this country and how policing is looked at right now, Carver said.

The department’s unions — the PBA, Detectives’ Association Inc. and the Superior Officers Association — are holding a fundraiser Monday night to benefit the families of the slain Baton Rouge and Dallas officers at 6 p.m. at Mulcahy’s of Wantagh, 3232 Railroad Ave. The proceeds will be given to the National Association of Police Organizations, which will then distribute to the families, Carver said.

Following the ceremony, Susan O’Donnell, whose brother-in-law is a retired NYPD officer, reflected at the memorial. She was moved to come over, she said, in light of the killings of the officers. She said she briefly hesitated for fear that some “disgruntled” person might launch an attack.

“It’s horrible, the families, the children; I just wanted to pay my respects to the officers because it’s horrible what’s happening in this world right now,” said a tearful O’Donnell, of Hicksville. “Nassau County cops have always been really good about responding to things in my neighborhood.”


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