In the wake of the ninth New York Police Department (NYPD) officer to commit suicide this year, Presiding Officer Richard Nicolello and the Nassau County Legislative majority announced a bill that would give officers greater access to mental health resources.
The legislation, which will be heard at the next meeting of the Legislature, includes the creation of an Office of Mental Health and Wellness within the Nassau County Police Department (NCPD) and Department of Corrections, the implementation of a liaison between the other police forces and NCPD to better serve officers residing in Nassau County, the establishment of a mental health action plan to examine the mental health policy and procedures and provide the opportunity for added resources to the departments, the creation of a smartphone application with various mental health resources, the formation of peer support groups for police and corrections officers and the provision of in-service wellness training and resources for all officers for a minimum of one-hour per calendar year.
“Our police and corrections officers and residents serving as officers in other municipalities protect our communities 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” said Nicolello. “Nassau County must provide them with the resources and support they may require.”
Legislator Rose Marie Walker, who represents Old Bethpage, stood with her fellow Republicans in announcing these bills.
“We give our law enforcement officers all the training and tools they need to go to work each day,” said Walker. “However, we also need to provide them with the help and resources they need to deal with the aftermath of the stressful situations they may encounter on a daily basis. This legislation does just that.”
Legislator Arnold Drucker of Plainview said that while he wishes the Republicans invited Democrats to have input on the making of these bills, he supports anything that will help members of law enforcement to help cope with the job.
“In principle, I support and we [the minority] support all measures and initiatives designed to help our police officers deal with their stresses on a daily basis,” said Drucker.