The Nassau County Correctional Center swore in 40 correction officers on Jan. 14, hiring the largest class the jail has seen since 2008. Included in it are nine female and 31 male recruits, many of whom have prior law enforcement or military experience. An additional four Nassau County Fire Marshals were also sworn in.
The jail graduated a class of 25 corrections officers on Sept. 28 and, at a Nassau County budget hearing on Oct. 12, it came under scrutiny for having a shortage in COs.
“We are continuing to move forward in recruiting and hiring people who want to serve Nassau County in this challenging yet rewarding law enforcement profession,” said County Sheriff Vera Fludd, who took on her position this time last year. “I am extremely pleased to welcome this large and diverse group of correction officer recruits,” she added.
Issues in hiring included a Nassau County residency requirement, which the county is looking to amend with legislation that will follow a similar recruitment policy as the Nassau County Police Department.
Furthermore, new recruits are now guaranteed that their steps will not be frozen no matter what financial woes the county faces, said Nassau County Executive Laura Curran. This is because, on Nov. 4, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law the Nassau Interim Finance Authority Steps Legislation, which allows Nassau County’s union employees to receive annual “step” raises even if NIFA imposes another wage freeze.
Brian Sullivan, the president of the Correction Officers Benevolent Association, said that the union has been working with the county and Civil Service Commission to bring in new hires to compensate for the number of retirements the jail has seen.
“We still have much more work to do to get our work force back up to full strength and I am hopeful that the County Executive and Civil Service will continue to work with us,” he said.
The 14-week long initial recruit training will include a series of new programs such as Mental Health First Aid and Narcan training.
“Our Correctional Officers and Fire Marshals are an integral part of ensuring public safety in Nassau County, and I will continue to do all I can to support and strengthen their mission,” Curran said.
There will be a hearing of the public safety committee on Jan. 28 that will tackle topics at the jail such as facility conditions and inmate health care. Siela Bynoe, a member of the committee and Democrat from Westbury, said that she is prepared with questions regarding the transition of health care providers from Armor Correctional Health Services to Nassau University Medical Center.
“I want to follow up on some earlier requests and issues at the jail as it relates to the overall safety and security of the facility,” she said.