Readers Write: Must Nassau County taxpayers be ripped off some more?

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A recent Newsday story told us that the Nassau County and the Suffolk County Police Departments on Long Island were among the last large police departments in the country, whose police officers didn’t already wear body cameras.

I can’t tell you how this issue now rests in Suffolk County, but the Newsday story told us that the Nassau legislature has already agreed to purchase body cameras for the Nassau County police and to pay every police officer who wears a camera, $3,000. a year, every year, forever, for wearing the camera.

The Port Washington Times story (June 4, Page 9) about these cameras for the Nassau police labels the $3,000. a year payment a stipend, not wages, but it does not explain what a stipend is. A stipend is taxable income but is not compensation subject to tax withholding deductions for Social Security and for Medicare.

Although the Nassau County legislature has approved of the body cameras being adopted in this county, the Police Benevolent Association, the police union here, has not yet finally approved of the cameras being adopted.

It’s anticipated, however, that the police union will approve of the body cameras soon. I certainly approve of Long Island’s two excellent police departments catching up with the rest of the country.

However, I do not agree, at all, that our police personnel should be paid something extra for wearing the cameras and that they should be paid that something extra, forever.

The number of Nassau County policemen and women who may wear a body camera is 2,500. 2,500 X $3,000.00 each = $7.5 million a year. I can think of no reason why you, your children, your grandchildren, your great-grandchildren, and who knows after them, should be paying $7.5 million more in taxes every year than they should be paying because Nassau police are wearing a small body camera that weighs just about a quarter of a pound.

Newsday stated that the weight of the camera is 5 ounces. Our police are already carrying a loaded pistol that weighs between 2 ½ – 3 pounds, with two extra loaded clips for that pistol that weigh at least a 1/2 pound together.

In addition to that, our Nassau police are already carrying a taser, a knife, handcuffs, a portable radio, an emergency kit and other paraphernalia, all of which add up to a significant weight that I cannot even guess at.

So, why must our Nassau police now be paid $3,000 a year each, forever, for wearing a very light-weight piece of police equipment, that all other police are already wearing, without conditions? And why are our Nassau County legislators so anxious to further burden taxpayers here, beyond the very heavy tax burdens that they already carry?

I urge you to contact your Nassau County legislator and to tell that legislator, enough. I shouldn’t have to pay my police to wear a small body camera, which has become standard equipment across the nation.

Joel Katz

Port Washington

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