On Thursday July 30, we as Nassau County Correction Officers crossed a previously unheard of threshold that far too many in Corrections in this country have already experienced. That being the assault and slashing of one of our Officers. In this age of complete disrespect and lack of support for law enforcement, it appeared to be only a matter of time before something like this would happen. This incident holds further significance due to the fact that members of two rival gangs, the Crips and the Bloods, appear to have acted in concert against our staff during this vicious assault.
To add insult to injury, the new radio system that was recently installed did not operate correctly, leaving many of our staff unaware of the radio alarms that were activated. Thankfully, the incident was not worse than it was. Our staff responded perfectly and the Officers involved will recover.
We all know the key to safety and security on this job is working together, sharing information, constantly watching each other's backs and holding people accountable. By people, I mean from the rookie Officer doing a patrol, right up to the County Executive. This incident is a perfect example of our Officers working together and watching each other's backs. As for information sharing, we collectively, including the union, need to be ever vigilant in this area so that we can hold the Department and the County accountable during these times of consolidation and ever present cost cutting.
We all knew there was going to be consolidation after the dramatic decrease in our inmate headcount due to Bail Reform, COVID releases and anti Law Enforcement rhetoric. But, low headcount or not, we can in no way ever relieve the Sheriff's administration or the County from their responsibility to keep this facility, our Officers and the inmate population safe. Put simply, it costs money to run a jail safely. Cost cutting always results in safety issues. In this case, while on its face, consolidation due to an inmate headcount under 600 seems logical, in reality violent inmates should never be free to roam open dorms.
Rest assured that COBA will continue to vehemently and publicly advocate on your behalf to provide the most secure environment possible, from the Sheriff to the County Executive and beyond. Most times as we've learned in the past, the only time we get the results we seek is when we shine a public light on deficiencies behind these walls. Corrections in general always gets the short end of the stick particularly budget-wise while others in Law Enforcement are showered with resources. We will continue to fight for better and more efficient contraband detection and the use of linear tiers to secure violent dangerous inmates.
Most importantly, in these uncertain times and particularly given the caliber of inmates that we continue to house here, please be ever vigilant, never trust that an inmate will do what you want them to do; always have your partners within your visual line of sight; ALWAYS WEAR YOUR STAB RESISTANT VESTS!! And, Document, Document, Document EVERYTHING!! Particularly each and every safety and security deficiency.
Please see below links to media coverage we secured regarding the slashing of our Officer as we wish him and his partners a speedy recovery from their injuries.
Brian Sullivan, COBA President
- Newsday Article https://www.newsday.com/long-island/nassau/nassau-jail-assault-correctio...
- NY Post Article https://nypost.com/2020/07/31/nassau-county-correction-officer-slashed-b...
- 1010 Wins Coverage https://1010wins.radio.com/articles/nassau-county-correction-officer-sla...
- Nassau COBA Press Release 7-31-2020