Nassau Legis. Laura Curran has more than a month to go before she is sworn in as Nassau’s new county executive, but the Baldwin Democrat already has police detectives driving her to and from county offices and providing security at her house.
Nassau’s last two county executives — Republican Edward Mangano and Democrat Thomas Suozzi — did not receive police security before taking office.
But Nassau’s acting Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said he made the call to provide Curran with the service now.
“Since it is my responsibility to protect all residents in Nassau County, it was my decision and strong recommendation to assign a security detail to County Executive elect Laura Curran,” Ryder said in a statement.
“I have based this decision on current events and it has been our protocol to assign detectives within the department for protection of the County Executive,” Ryder said. “Ms. Curran is now a public figure at the highest level in the county and we need to protect our dignitaries.”
Ryder added, “Going back several months ago, I also made the decision to increase security around the legislature by using both uniformed and plain clothes members.”
Ryder did not provide details about the number of sworn personnel assigned to Curran or the vehicle being used.
Asked if the expense of providing security to Curran was covered by the 2017 budget, Ryder said the cost “is minimal since we already have detectives assigned to dignitary protection and other assignments.”
Mangano appointed Ryder acting police commissioner in June when former acting Commissioner Thomas Krumpter announced his retirement. Curran has not said whether she will keep Ryder in charge of the police department.
Security provided to county executives has been an issue in Nassau and Suffolk counties for years, primarily because of high overtime bills for police detective drivers.
During his first campaign for office in 2001, Suozzi said he would drive himself if elected, but quickly accepted a security detail on advice of police brass. Mangano also accepted police security.
Former Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy rejected a police detail, and often touted the fact that he drove himself to work and county events.
Incumbent Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone does not have a police security detail, said spokesman Jason Elan. Occasionally, Bellone’s office tries to have a staff member drive him to events, but primarily Bellone “drives himself,” Elan said.
A Curran spokesman directed all questions about the security detail to Ryder.