Nassau police union pleas for more detectives to fight gangs

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MINEOLA -

The Nassau County Detectives Association on Thursday addressed a staffing shortfall that it says is hurting the fight against gangs like MS-13.

"Please reach out to your elected officials and let them know you're aware of this situation," union President John Wighaus said at the Greater Second Baptist Church in Freeport.

Union law enforcement officials say only seven detectives are devoted to the gang unit and they fear a shortage of them could compromise public safety.

Pastors who listened to the presentation say the threat of gang violence is real for their congregants.

Nassau officers receive a $2,400 raise when promoted to detective, but union leaders say that isn't enough of an incentive to take on the heavy workload and responsibility.

MORE: Union: Detective shortage could hurt fight against gangs, drugs

The union is making a push for awareness ahead of collective bargaining negotiations. Wighaus says it's an issue that predates Nassau County Executive Laura Curran's administration.

Laura Curran says contract negotiations with the Nassau Detectives Association are slated to begin any day now. She says she hopes to have a new deal with the union as soon as possible.

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