NY COs call for more staffing after recent inmate attack

“You go to work every day wondering if you're going to come home,” one of the injured officers said

By CorrectionsOne Staff

NASSAU COUNTY, N.Y. — Corrections officers in a New York county have called for more staffing after two officers were attacked by a mentally ill inmate.

In last month’s attack at Nassau County jail, one officer was punched and later diagnosed with two compressed discs that may require surgery to fix. The other officer suffered a broken nose after being kicked, News 12 reports.

“You go to work every day wondering if you're going to come home,” one of the injured COs, who didn’t want to be identified, said.

One of the officers told the New York Daily News that the inmate was “mumbling to himself” and appeared “agitated” as he was being locked back up in his cell. The attack started after the inmate reportedly lunged at an officer as the cell door was closing.

Brian Sullivan, president of the Nassau County Correction Officers Benevolent Association, said the attack shows that officers need to be better trained in dealing with mentally inmates. He added that it also shows the need for more officers.

“There needs to be a plan put in place,” said Sullivan. “We can't have the same officers working double shifts.”

The officer who was punched in the face was working a double shift at the time of the attack. The number of COs has dropped from 1,100 in 2012 to 79 currently. 

The inmate population has decreased from between 1,600 to 1,800 in 2012 to 1,000 currently. But Sullivan said stuff cuts have outpaced the population decrease.

Sullivan said newly sworn Sheriff Vera Fludd needs to address the officers’ concerns. In a statement, Fludd said they are in the process of hiring new COs and also praised the injured COs for their handling of the incident.

“We are in the process of hiring additional officers and are working closely with the Civil Service Commission to expedite the next academy class,” Fludd said. “We have already reviewed our training for officers and will be implementing new training courses this year.”

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