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National Police Misconduct Reporting Project

Police Chiefs Unable to Discipline Bad Cops

Sunday’s Wall Street Journal reported that Thomas Dale, the Police Commissioner of New York’s Nassau County is asking the legislature for the power to fire his own officers (subscription only), a prerogative that few New York police officials have.


The legislation comes after months of embarrassing news for the 2,400-member Long Island police department.

A former officer is being investigated over allegations he met with a mistress dozens of times while on duty before resigning in April. Just weeks earlier, in March, the Nassau County district attorney’s office charged three former high-ranking police officials with helping to cover up a theft allegedly committed by the son of a major benefactor. The officials have pleaded not guilty.

Before Mr. Dale took office, County Executive Ed Mangano closed the crime lab last year after faulty procedures came to light. Before that, more than a dozen officers were disciplined after an internal investigation found they failed to investigate claims of domestic abuse by a 24-year-old woman who was later killed by her ex-boyfriend.

Dale wants to fire seven officers on his force, but under the present union contract, officers can call in outside arbitrators in disciplinary matters. The union has vowed to challenge the reform legislation after its likely passage.

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