Nassau County police are on alert following Dallas shooting

Chris Adams

Nassau County Acting Commissioner Thomas Krumpter announced Friday that the department will heighten security countywide, in the wake of the July 7 police shootings in Dallas. 

For the next 36 hours, personnel in patrol cars throughout the county will double to two officers per vehicle and every officer will be equipped with additional ballistics gear, while the department conducts a “threat analysis” throughout Nassau.

“Nassau County Police Department has taken all the necessary steps to ensure the safety of our members and the public at large,” Krumpter said.

The announcement was made in response to Thursday’s incident when Dallas police officers covering a Black Lives Matter protest were ambushed by snipers, killing five officers and wounding seven. The demonstration came after this week’s fatal shootings of two black men by police, Alton Sterling and Philando Castle.

The killing of the Dallas officers was the deadliest single police event since the September 11 attacks.

“This was an outright target of police officers, the likes of which we’ve seen very rarely in the history of this country,” Krumpter said. “And I think it’s important that we recognize that the police officers there in Dallas were doing a great job. They were out there maintaining individuals’ rights to free speech, and while they were doing their job barbarians just outright attacked them.”

Krumpter said there are currently no threats in Nassau County that the department is aware of, but they are actively monitoring and working with other departments on the federal and state levels. 

In addition to tracking social media for threats, the department’s Special Operations Criminal Intelligence Rapid Response Team will be conducting homeland security patrols at large gatherings throughout the county this weekend.

The policy of patrolling in pairs is being implemented in police departments across the country after the Dallas tragedy, including the New York, Washington, D.C., and Boston police departments.

“When you’re dealing with snipers, police officers focused on driving aren’t always necessarily focused on anything other than driving a car,” he said. “You know, we talk about distracted driving, so having a second set of eyes provides a degree of safety.”

Officers are already required to wear soft body armor under their uniforms per Krumpter’s must-wear policy, and Nassau has equipped its officers with a tactical overlay vest that provides added protection than the standard vest. Every patrol car is also equipped with helmets to protect against shooter situations, Krumpter said.

In addition to increased safety measures for police officers, Krumpter said their Community Affairs division and other units will be providing necessary information and support to minority communities.

“Everything we talk about here is about trust and building relationships with the community,” Krumpter said. “One of the great things that we have here in Nassau County is we have a degree of trust that is rarely seen anywhere in law enforcement, and it’s about building bridges and maintaining those open lines of communication.”

During the “uncertain times” police officers work in today, Krumpter touted the low record of fatal incidents involving his department. From 2015 to today there have been no police-involved shootings in Nassau, he said.

“That just goes to the professionalism and restraint that our officers demonstrate every single day,” he said. “I think we’re in a great place right now.”

Krumpter said the Dallas shootings won’t change the way the department handles protests, and despite the temporary adjustment, response times won’t change.

“We have a proven track record of handling those protests, ensuring the safety of the public and ensuring the safety of our officers,” he said. “Whether you want to look at minor protests that we’ve had, or whether you want to look at something on the scale of Donald Trump visiting Nassau County, or presidential debates, this is a major police department, and the things that we do each and every day prepares for these types of incidents.”

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