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Nassau police union leader wants cop hiring to keep pace with retirements

Nassau County Police P.B.A President James Carver discusses

Nassau County Police P.B.A President James Carver discusses the Nassau County Police Force being reduced by 150 officers due to retirements held inside N.C.P.D. PBA headquarters in Mineola, Monday, Dec. 1, 2014. Credit: Steve Pfost

The president of Nassau's largest police union called on the police department to put its hiring of new officers on pace with a surge in expected retirements by the end of this month and into 2015.

Police Benevolent Association president James Carver said the county has a history of going years without hiring and then hiring new officers en masse. He said the department hired about 750 new officers from 2004 to 2008, but didn't hire any new recruits from 2009 to 2012. The county last year hired a class of 37 recruits, the first class since September 2008.

"The county should hire on a constant basis," Carver said. "The county has a history of hiring people in two- or three-year periods and then not hiring in four or five years, so it spikes. They wait until it gets low and they try to catch up."

Nassau is bracing for a spike in police retirements for 2015, when 250 officers -- more than 10 percent of the 2,257-member police force -- are expected to leave. The department anticipates about 150 officer retirements by the end of this year.

Acting Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter said the department plans to hire 500 cops in the next two years -- hires that will save the county about $150 million because of the new contract.

"Going forward, my hope is to take a much more systematic approach with hiring to get back to that model" of hiring more frequently, Krumpter said.

In an email, Brian Nevin, a spokesman for County Executive Edward Mangano, said, "To save taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars, the administration began hiring once labor contracts were put in place that for the first-time ever require employee contributions for health care premiums and pensions."

The projected increase in retirements comes as the department has paid record overtime in recent years -- predicted to top $67.4 million in 2014 -- to keep up with mandated policing levels, while hiring stopped during a county wage freeze.

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