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Barroom Gun Play
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Editorial 4/27/2012
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Barroom Gun Play
presented by Peter Kohler

When you see barroom gun play on television, you don’t expect to see it on the news.

But at the South Main Street Pub in Farmingdale a security camera caught an off duty Nassau cop waving his gun and menacing a bartender last April.

Subsequently, Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice charged Officer Richard Hefferon with a major misdemeanor, a case that continues in court a year later. Hefferon maintains his innocence.

In the meantime, police brass restricted Hefferon to deskwork, and took away his weapons. He continues to be paid in full, though police officials say they have begun disciplinary proceedings against him.

Trouble is an obscure county law that gives PBA union members like Hefferon the option of having an arbitrator–not the Police commissioner–decide the matter.

That law makes no sense.

Now Nassau Presiding Officer Peter Schmitt has moved to repeal that law, acting with the support of Police Commissioner Thomas Dale.

Ultimately, the police commissioner should decide on discipline for misconduct, no ifs, ands or buts, and no more arbitrators.

Who is fit to wear the badge is no subject for collective bargaining.

Feb 7, 2012
Finally, Nassau legislators agreed to award $7.7 million to the family of Jo’Anna Bird, settling a lawsuit over the failure of police to protect the young mother who was brutally murdered despite her repeated pleas for help. The case demonstrates a top to bottom failure of Nassau’s police department…