The Hempstead Village board of trustees promoted four police officers at a meeting in which board members expressed frustration with crime in the village and efforts to address it.
The board on Aug. 5 voted 5-0 to promote Steven Horowitz to lieutenant, Shaun Gleason and Brian Connolly to sergeant and Jacqueline Smolenski to Detective I. The positions pay $175,799, $156,577 and $143,674, respectively.
Mayor Don Ryan said the department chiefs recommended the promotions based in part on civil service exam scores. Ryan said Chief Paul Johnson and Deputy Chief Richard Holland, both of whom have pleaded not guilty to pending corruption charges, participated in the selection process.
Ryan said those promoted to sergeant were the second and third highest scorers on the sergeant’s exam. He referred questions about why the top scorer was passed over to Assistant Chief Kevin Colgan. Colgan declined to comment.
Also at the meeting, the board discussed the announcement that Nassau County and New York State would send police vehicles to patrol the village.
Trustee Jeffery Daniels said he took issue with a comment from Nassau Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder that he’s concerned that Hempstead violence could spill into other communities.
“There’s no lines in bad guys’ worlds. They don’t know this is the border of Hempstead, this is the border of Uniondale, or Westbury or West Hempstead,” Ryder told Newsday.
Daniels countered: “Specifically naming minority communities within Nassau County and blaming them for the crime and worrying about their spillover coming into other parts of Nassau County is completely inappropriate for the commissioner of the Nassau County Police Department.”
Ryder said in a statement: "This has nothing to do about minority communities and all about all law enforcement working together to make all communities safe...We support the Hempstead Police Department and are engaged with them to fight crime to keep all communities safe.”
Trustee LaMont Johnson said he took issue with a statement by village Mayor Don Ryan that violent crime has declined over the past five years and that "the village is safer now than it has been during the past five-year period.”
Johnson said: “I don’t believe that crime is down. And I don’t believe it's safe” in Hempstead.
Ryan defended the statistics. “The numbers I have are accurate. They're not made up,” he said at the meeting.
“These are all things that hurt, without a doubt,” he said of crime in the village. “But we're going forward, and we're going to try to see if we can make it better and safer.”