Thursday, June 16, 2011

Fifth Precinct POP Unit Officers Reassigned

As you might have read in this weeks Newsday, all POP Units of the Nassau County Police Department have been severely cut. Officers have been reassigned to other positions in the Department.

It has been a humbling experience to have worked with the Officers of the 5th Precinct POP Unit. POP stands for Problem Oriented Policing. The 5th Precinct POP Unit consisted of 4 officers and one supervisor who handle quality of life issues and work very closely with the schools and community. The Unit is now down to one officer and one Supervisor.

I didn’t realize the scope of their jobs until I began working with them to produce this Blog as a tool to increase communication with the schools and community.

Our POP Unit Officers care for the students they encounter. As parents themselves they bring a genuine concern for the youth of our area.

Our officers have direct contact with the Superintendent’s and Principal’s of each school, in each School District, often exchanging cell phone numbers to be available on a minutes notice. When any need would arise for a student to be helped, these officers are known to diffuse the situation with a personal response to help the student and advisor for the best possible outcome.

Our officers attend many community meetings and sometimes became members of our local community organizations themselves such as Sgt. Grimm who is a Board Member of the Gateway Youth Outreach. He helped to start a program to help children everyday afterschool to study, tutor and help with homework. Other officers have joined the Valley Stream Youth Council and Envision Valley Stream a grassroots effort started by young adults living in Valley Stream. Helping to keep us informed of local Police Activity, officers also provided a voice for our concerns reporting it back to the precinct commander for further evaluation.

They lecture and educate our students and PTA’s. Speak at Civic Meetings, to local business and church groups.

Our officers present Scouting Awards to the local youth whose hard work and efforts have earned them the Highest Awards in Scouting the Girl Scout Gold Award and Boy Scout Eagle Award. They encourage the scouts to be a vital part of the fabric of our community.

Our Officers provide Prom Enforcement ensuring all limo drivers have and enforce a no alcohol or drug policy in their vehicles.

Our Fifth Precinct POP Unit also leads a NCPD Explorers Group. Exploring is an education and experience based program designed to help young people develop into mature, caring and responsible adults. With the guidance of the POP Advisors, area youth are mentored in life skills and are given the opportunity to participate in numerous law enforcement experiences and training sessions. The explorers are routinely involved in competitions that take place at venues throughout the country and that test their skills against other Law Enforcement Explorers. Local competitions are held with such groups as the New York City’s Explorers and US Customs.

Exploring helps foster positive relationships among the Police Department, its officers and local youth. It builds an avenue for public/ private partnerships that provides a means to support our mission to protect and serve. As individuals, the youth involved give back to their community by completing hundreds of hours of community service each year. They become role models for their peers and friends and serve as catalysts for positive police relations in our communities.

In this ever-competitive world in which our children find it increasingly difficult to gain acceptance to the college or university of their choice, having the experience of Exploring on their resumes may very well be the unique qualification to help them gain entrance into their college of choice.

Our Officers work closely with the Social Service Department, visiting the homeless and making sure they are cared for by providing a place to go, food or money sometimes out of their own pocket.

Our Officers run Project 21 which visits local establishments who sell alcohol and tobacco and make sure they are not selling to any one under 21. Our officers have established relationships with Consumer Affairs Department, Town of Hempstead Building Dept., Valley Stream Code Enforcement, Probation and Parole Dept., to help clean up establishments that are selling cigerettes or alcohol to minors or known drug houses.

Our officers work with NCPD Crossing Guards to oversee the creation of future crossings and provide back up for Guards who need their support.

They are a fine group of officers whose passion, courage and dedication has served our community in so many ways for many years. I truly wish them all well. Their service to Nassau County Fifth Precinct is priceless.

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