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Letter: Cops who used force tell of serious fear

Nassau police are getting more firearms and training

Nassau police are getting more firearms and training after a mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif. took place on Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015. This cop car is pictured on Aug. 14, 2013. Photo Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

The letter “Newsday editorial off base on police work” [July 10] was on the mark. Newsday’s editorial board called for a change in police culture with respect to the use of force.

In my time with the Nassau County Police Department as a homicide squad commander, I was part of the deadly force investigation team. Delving into police shootings allowed me to talk to many street cops who echoed the same refrain: “I was in fear for my life.”

Nothing has changed to allay those fears. In fact, the situation is worse. Working cops and detectives face formidable challenges. Our region is awash with illegal handguns and larger weapons of war, many in the hands of vicious criminals.

Every cop swears to protect life and property. Built in is the understanding that self-preservation of an officer’s life is also paramount. Now, the NCPD has amended protocols on the use of force. Police Benevolent Association president James Carver is concerned this will affect officers’ safety. He’s correct.

New rules will not override the terror officers feel when confronted with the presence of a deadly weapon.

Before there is a rush to media judgment after a shooting, allow for a detailed investigation followed by a presentation to an oversight agency. Our street cops and detectives deserve no less.

John F. Nolan, Oakdale

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