The Nassau Police Benevolent Association has elected a new president to lead the powerful union representing the police department’s nearly 2,000 rank-and-file officers.
James McDermott, a 30-year department veteran who was elected to the post Monday night, said he plans to tackle issues such as increased training and facility improvements, aiming at improving officers’ satisfaction with the job.
“Our morale is low,” said McDermott, citing decrepit conditions in some of the department’s precincts and a 2011 wage freeze.
McDermott ran unopposed and follows the tenure of James Carver, who recently retired and is mulling a run for Oyster Bay Town supervisor.
McDermott, in an interview Tuesday at union headquarters in Mineola, said his top priorities include negotiating pay increases for officers when the contract is up in late 2017.
McDermott also plans to push for the re-establishment of precincts that had been merged under a 2012 consolidation plan, arguing that highly taxed Nassau residents deserve fully staffed precincts.
“I’m all about the cops,” said McDermott, 53, who spent more than two decades as a patrol cop. “I want to be there representing the cops. That’s who I am. I want to take care of the cops, put them in a position where they’re going to be successful, they’re going to be able to serve the public best, that they’re going to be protected, that they’re going to be represented fairly, that their contract is going to be honored.”
McDermott was paid $178,094.45 in 2015, according to a Newsday data base. The PBA president salary comes with a pay increase, but the union could not provide the figure Tuesday.
McDermott grew up in North Wantagh and joined the NYPD when he was 20, working for about three years in the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Bedford-Stuyvesant and East New York.
He became a Nassau cop in 1987, and spent his career in the Fifth Precinct, where he mostly patrolled the areas of Elmont and Lakeview. He won several awards and commendations for his work, he said.
He was elected as a PBA delegate in 1995, then a trustee, and in 2005 was elected as the union’s sergeant-at-arms, a full-time job that took him off the streets.
McDermott was patrolling Nassau’s Fifth Precinct when he met a new cop whom he’ll work closely with in his new post as union president — acting Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter.
“Tommy, I broke in as a rookie,” said McDermott. “We have a long history.”
Asked if he had recollections about the commissioner in his younger days, McDermott laughed and joked: “I want to get off on a good foot.”
In a statement, Krumpter acknowledged their 25-year relationship.
“I wish him and the membership the very best in his newly elected position.”