Diversity committee to overhaul Nassau police's hiring process

Nassau County announced a new police diversity committee to overhaul the department's hiring process on Thursday. 

"My administration and the police department and Commissioner Ryder, we are all committed to increasing diversity in our police force," said Nassau County Executive Laura Curran on Thursday in Mineola. 

Curran stood with members of the County’s newly established Police Diversity Committee. Its job is to find ways to improve diversity in the Police Department through three stages: recruitment, testing, and hiring.

"Just because something has been a problem or a challenge for many years for many decades, doesn’t mean you can’t take a fresh look," said Curran. 

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Nassau Police Commissioner Pat Ryder stood next to the County Executive but did not offer any comments. Just last week he apologized for previous comments saying many candidates of color come from broken homes. 

This also comes after a recent investigation found that since 2012, more than 6,500 people of color applied to the Nassau and Suffolk police forces, but only 67 were hired. Police reform advocate and former NYPD detective Dennis Jones says this new diversity committee is a step in the right direction, but that in his opinion there’s a specific issue the committee needs to focus on. 

"A lot of times people of color have failed the psychological end of the testing to get on the police department and that is proven to be something that should be where they start first so they can solve that issue," said Jones who’s with Long Island Advocates for Police Accountability. 

The diversity committee responded by saying it does plan to focus heavily on the testing process, including psychological parts of the exam. The Nassau County PBA President is also showing support for the committee. The next civil service test in Nassau will take place sometime next year.

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