The NYCLU conducted an exhaustive inquiry into the policies of each police department. Through our interaction, we have found that the Nassau County Police Department:
- Repeatedly resisted the NYCLU’s Freedom of Information Law request to access public records. It took three appeals before we were given public information.
- Uses automated license plate reader software that allows data sharing with the Suffolk County Police Department, New York State Police, Philadelphia Police Department, High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas program, a Maryland data fusion center, and other agencies. The Department also provided no specific policies governing the technology’s use, instead giving us “suggested guidelines” from the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services.
- Appears to selectively value privacy, redacting all the identifying information about officers involved in use of force incidents but noticeably leaving in all the names, addresses, and dates of birth of the civilians subject to those uses of force. The NYCLU chose not to upload these reports to respect their privacy.
Used a racially insensitive coding system to track demographic information on its officers. In its breakdown of officers by rank, gender, and race, the Department used single-letter abbreviations for racial categories: B, H, I, W, and Y. When asked, the Department confirmed that “Y” stood for “yellow,” and was meant to account for Asian personnel.
Was unable to provide any data on stops, enforcement of low-level offenses, or statistics related to officer training. For each of those categories, the Department said, “Retrieving such data and generating reports responsive to the request would require NCPD to create a new data retrieval program.”
Policy Spotlight: Data Collection
It’s unacceptable that one of the largest police departments in the country, with more than 2,000 officers serving a population of more than 1.3 million residents, cannot produce statistics on some of the most basic law enforcement interactions. Nassau County must ensure that its police department has systems in place for collecting and publicly reporting information on police practices. At minimum, departments should be able to report on stops, uses of force, and the offenses people are being arrested and ticketed for. Crucially, departments need to collect and report demographic information as part of the analysis, as this is essential for uncovering disparities and better equipping communities with the information they need to hold police departments to high standards of equitable and constitutional policing.
You can learn more about the policies by clicking the cards below.
Documents received by June 2017.