Executive order allows Nassau Police Department to publish bail status, case information of repeat offenders

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Executive order allows Nassau Police Department to publish bail status, case information of repeat offenders
Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman signed an executive order on Wednesday aimed at providing more transparency into rearrested individuals' criminal history. (Photo courtesy of the county executive's office)

Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman signed an executive order last week that permits the county’s Police Department to disclose if a person has been rearrested after being released without bail.

Blakeman, in an effort to discredit the state’s bail reform laws enacted in the beginning of 2020, signed the executive order that cites a need to “increase transparency by disclosing in daily reports the pending criminal case data and bail status of those rearrested” by the Police Department. He said the reports will be made available online.

“As I have said repeatedly, judges should have the sole discretion to determine if someone is a danger to the community or a flight risk,” Blakeman said at a news conference last Wednesday.

The state bail reform laws eliminated pretrial detention and optional cash bail in an estimated 90 percent of cases. According to the executive order, approximately 20 percent of bail-related cases between July 2020 and June 2021 in New York resulted in an individual being rearrested for some offense.

The order also claims more than 2,000 repeat offenders across the state were subsequently arrested for a violent felony while another case was pending. More than 400 of those repeat offenders were rearrested for a violent felony involving a firearm, according to the executive order.

The executive order went into effect immediately.

“It’s time that Nassau residents and the lawmakers who passed these dangerous laws know exactly how they are impacting our communities,” Blakeman said. “This executive order sheds sunlight on these dangerous laws and puts pressure on the Governor and State lawmakers to put law-abiding Americans above criminals.”

Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said more gun arrests have been made in the county since Jan. 1, compared with all of December 2021. In the 13 made since the new year, Ryder said, six suspects were released on cashless bail. Others, he said, were given ankle bracelets to be monitored by police and then released on cashless bail.

Six cases Ryder mentioned involved individuals being charged with possession of a loaded firearm, a bail eligible offense. In those cases, the individuals charged seem to have been released without bail at the judges’ discretion.

Officials said nearly 90 percent of the 11,000 people arrested in the county in 2021 were released without bail. More than 300 of those individuals were released without bail following a weapons-related offense, according to officials.

Despite U.S. News & World Report deeming Nassau the safest county in America for the second consecutive year in 2021, Blakeman rejected the designation.

In a Newsday interview before November’s election, Blakeman said U.S. News & World Report only took “spoonfed” statistics from the county and said they were not reflective of what 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, U.S. News & World Report said last year. 

Public safety professionals account for 1.26 percent of the county’s population, compared with the national median of 0.70 percent.

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