Republican officials gathered at the Village Green in Great Neck on Sunday to support local law enforcement and honor those whose lives have been lost in the line of duty.
Among those present were U.S. Representative Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley), a gubernatorial candidate; Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman; Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder; Nassau County Legislator Mazi Melesa Pilip; The mayor of the village of Great Neck, Pedram Bral, and others.
Officials held a candlelight vigil to honor fallen officers, including NYPD police officers Wilbert Mora and Jason Rivera, who were shot in the line of duty several weeks ago in Harlem.
Zeldin, in a statement, slammed Governor Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, for not prioritizing the welfare of law enforcement and the protection of New Yorkers.
“How many more policemen need to be shot?” Zeldin said. “How many more innocent New Yorkers have to be attacked on their own streets? How much longer are we going to put up with the governor who is supposed to fight for us, to dry us out?”
Blakeman touted the need for residents to honor the sacrifice police and first responders make to keep the public safe every day.
“Events like this bring our communities together and let family and friends of fallen officers know that we will never forget them, their service and their sacrifice,” he said.
In addition to expressing his support for local law enforcement, Blakeman said he discussed various policing strategies with District Attorney Anne Donnelly and the president of the County Police Benevolent Association. Nassau, Tom Shevlin, to keep the residents of Nassau safe. Blakeman also criticized state bail reform laws.
Blakeman signed an executive order in late January that allows the county police department to disclose if a person has been re-arrested after being released without bail. He said the reports will be posted online.
According to the executive order, approximately 20% of bail-related cases between July 2020 and June 2021 in New York City resulted in an individual being re-arrested for an offense.
The order also claims that more than 2,000 repeat offenders across the state were subsequently arrested for a violent crime while another case was pending. More than 400 of those repeat offenders have been rearrested for a violent crime involving a firearm, according to the executive order, which took effect immediately.
Although U.S. News & World Report ranked Nassau as the safest county in America, Blakeman said Ina Newsday interview ahead of the November election that the publication took county ‘spoon’ statistics and said they did not reflect what had really happened over the past year due to the pandemic.
Nassau County spends $1,148 per capita on police and fire protection, while the national median is $359, US News & World Report said last year.
Public safety professionals make up 1.26% of the county’s population, compared to a national median of 0.70%.