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May the force be productive

A police car sits across the street from

A police car sits across the street from the 1st Precinct of Nassau County Police Department in Baldwin in this 2013 file photo. Credit: Steve Pfost

So along with stories about Nassau County cops getting $500,000 payouts and massive pensions when they retire, we now learn that some don't do their jobs. About 60 to 70 officers will be assigned supervisors to accompany them on patrol, a humiliating tactic to retrain them in the art of ticket writing.

According to Acting Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter, some patrol officers have written as few as 15 tickets in a year. Krumpter says residents and village mayors have complained that traffic violations in their areas are going unchecked.

Police Benevolent Association president James Carver says the ride-along training is going overboard, and supervisors should have started off with less overbearing tactics. He fears this plan will demoralize the 1,500 officers he represents.

But police officials say they have been encouraging and demanding better performance all along, and this is the next step.

At the root of the issue is a reality neither side wants to highlight, one that is hard for taxpayers who work in the private sector to comprehend. It is extremely difficult to get rid of a cop who is dishonest, untrustworthy, violent or mentally unsound. But it's just impossible, union and police officials agree, to fire one for being incompetent.

Nobody wants cops to be working on a quota system that requires them to issue a certain number of tickets, hounding residents to generate revenue. But anyone who drives in Nassau County knows there is no shortage of dangerous drivers cops should stop and ticket.

Krumpter wants every officer to pull his or her weight, and he's consistently fought for increased discipline. Now he simply wants them to be productive. That's not too much to ask.


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