Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman reportedly plans to get civilians involved in emergency situations with an approach that has sparked a lot of controversy. Multiple reports confirm that the Long Island Republican politician plans to create a list of civilians that will be deputized, armed, and deployed in the event of an emergency.

NAACP Branch President Claims ‘This Is Open Season To Kill’

Barbara Powell, the president of a NAACP branch in Hempstead, declared on Tuesday that “this is open season to kill.” She made that statement during a rally that protested Blakeman’s plan.

Source: Pixabay/Jan Marcus Trapp

The plan was also slammed by Democratic legislators and local residents. It has been criticized as a potential threat to police authority and a dangerous concept overall.

Blakeman, County Sheriff Advertised ‘Deputy Sheriff’ Opportunity On County Website

Nassau County Sheriff Anthony LaRocco and Bruce Blakeman reportedly used the county’s website to get the word out about the new position. According to the advertisement, the new position was described as a “Provisional Emergency Special Deputy Sheriff.”

Source: Pixabay/StockSnap

The advertisement encouraged interested residents to apply for the new position. The post was initially created and shared through the website last month.

Blakeman: ‘God Forbid There Is An Emergency’, Plan Removes Need To ‘Scramble’

County Executive Bruce Blakeman opened up in support of his controversial plan. He believes that it would support regular law enforcement if and when a major natural disaster occurs.

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Blakeman asked, “God forbid there is an emergency, do you want me to have to scramble at that point to try and find people?” Through his executive order, Blakeman has already developed a growing list of candidates that will go through training for these deputized positions.

Blakeman Claims Deputized Civilians Will Only Be Used In ‘Extreme’ Situations

Blakeman indicated that the deputized civilians would only be called up in the “most extreme situations.” An example of the emergency would be in the event of a natural disaster.

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According to Blakeman, the objective would be not to use the deputized civilians to police the area. However, they would be assigned to guard hospitals and other types of infrastructure that would free up Nassau Police officers.

Blakeman Admitted He Would ‘Consider’ Using Deputies In Event Of A Riot

In an interview with PIX11 News, Blakeman was pressed to explain how he would respond in the event of a political protest that may have escalated. He stated that the Nassau Police has been able to handle any protest “so far.”

Source: Wikimedia/Arthur Raslich

However, he added that he would “consider” using the deputized civilians “if there was a riot.” Blakeman further expressed that he would truly consider using them if the riot escalated to “the level they were burning buildings.”

Deputy Sheriff Candidates Must Be ‘Skilled In The Use Of Firearms’

The advertisement made it clear that the deputized civilians must already be “skilled in the use of firearms.” Therefore, it seems as if that would disqualify anyone that did not already have at least limited experience with firearms from the application process.

Source: Pixabay/David Moore

The ad also promoted the need for additional training within a strict deadline as part of the hiring process. The chosen candidates must reportedly “be trained and qualified on service weapon and complete basic training” within 45 days. The training will be held at the Academy and focus on NYS Penal Law and Use of Force.

Deputy Sheriffs Would Not Be Part Of Any Professional Law Enforcement Agency

The “provisional sheriffs” reportedly would not be affiliated with any type of professional law enforcement agency. Further reports confirm that they would be mobilized to guard assigned public spaces during “states of emergency” in which they are deployed.

Source: Pixabay/Adina Voicu

There has been a limited amount of details offered regarding how the individuals would be trained or vetted as part of the deputization process. They will reportedly receive a daily stipend of $150.

Blakeman Confirmed Refresher Courses Are Currently Underway For Veterans

According to Newsday, Blakeman confirmed that approximately 25 military and former law enforcement veterans were currently going through refresher courses to prepare for these new roles. The refresher course will reportedly allow these candidates to become deputized civilians within a 30-day period.

Source: Pixabay/Anja

One report claims that approximately 100 Nassau County residents applied to be a part of the controversial program ahead of the March 31 deadline.  

Blakeman Referenced New York State County Law 655 To Support His Plan

Blakeman and Sheriff LaRocco both argued that the legality of their plan was based on the provisions within New York State County Law 655. The law states that “the sheriff may deputize orally or in writing such number of additional special deputies as he deems necessary.”

Source: Pixabay/Gerd Altmann

According to the law, this must be done with the goal of ensuring “the protection of human life and property during an emergency.”

Sheriff ‘May Pay The Compensation Of Any Such Special Deputies’, According To Law

The law also states that the sheriff “may pay the compensation of any such special deputies in such amount as the board of supervisors may determine for each day any such special deputy is actually engaged in assisting him in the performance of his duties.” This provision should be enforced if the sheriff “is unable to continue the services of such special deputies without compensation.”

Source: Pixabay/Tumisu

The law further explains that “the compensation of any special deputy so appointed shall be a county charge.” The Board may even direct the “manner of payment including a direction of approval for such payment by the chairman of a designated committee of the board.”

County Legislature Minority Leader Claims Plan Is ‘Risky’ And ‘Unnecessary’

Nassau County Legislature Delia DeRiggi-Whitton was in attendance at the rally on Monday that protested Blakeman’s plan. She described the plan as a “County Executive having a private, armed group of people to deploy at their sole discretion.”

Source: Pixabay/Arek Socha

DeRiggi-Whitton highlighted that providing any County Executive with that type of provision is “risky” and “unnecessary.” She added that it “created tremendous anxiety in people across Nassau County.”

DeRiggi-Whitton: ‘The Consensus Is Clear – We Don’t Want It’, ‘We Don’t Need It’

DeRiggi-Whitton continued by stating that her “office has been flooded with calls” in recent weeks due the news of Blakeman’s plan. She added that “the consensus is clear – we don’t want it.”

Source: Pixabay/Leopictures

The Democratic politician also explained that “we don’t need it because we have one of the best police forces in the nation.” She further indicated that the Minority Caucus would not “relent in its efforts to reverse this profoundly misguided idea.”

Deputy Minority Leader Claims Plan Will ‘Foster And Promote Lawlessness’

Nassau County Deputy Minority Leader Arnold W. Drucker opened up about the plan and is also against it. Drucker stated that deputizing armed citizens without any experience, training or “knowledge of how to handle what…any County Executive deems a state of emergency” would have an adverse result.

Source: Pixabay/Sammy Sander

Drucker explained that it would “most assuredly foster and promote lawlessness during an emergency.” He added that it also “may in fact endanger the lives of our law enforcement as well as other residents.”

Alternate Deputy Minority Leader Emphasized Need For ‘Highly Trained Individuals’

Nassau County Legislature Alternate Deputy Minority Leader Siela A. Bynoe focused most of her comments related to the controversial plan on the need for highly-trained law enforcement personnel. She stated that these individuals should be trained in such areas as de-escalation, mental health, and technology such as body cameras.

Source: Pixabay/BodyWorn by Utility

According to Bynoe, law enforcement personnel should also be trained “to work with the mental health professionals we imbed in their response to mentally aided calls.” She emphasized that Nassau County residents as well as visitors are able to benefit from “highly trained and capable law enforcement and Office of Emergency Management personnel.”

Siela Bynoe: ‘One Bad Act By One Bad Actor’ Could ‘Erode’ All Trust In County

Bynoe explained that “one bad act by one bad actor of this militia could erode all the trust that we have worked to get.” She further stated that the county’s legislative body has “invested wisely and collaboratively with our police unions and prior administrations to build greater trust between police and our communities.”

Source: Pixabay/Arek Socha

She concluded her comments by stating simply “no militia – no way.” She emphasized her point even more by stating “not on our watch.”

Legislator Koslow States ‘Only Police Officers Who Are Trained’ Should Do Police Work

Legislator Seth Koslow, a Democratic politician representing Merrick, stated that “only police officers who are trained should be doing police work.” He added that there are thousands of officers within Nassau County that often receive training that exceeds the State’s requirements.

Source: Pixabay/Bao Tseng

Koslow further questioned if the deputized civilians were going to be trained and how much training they would get. He added that “we don’t know any of this because Bruce Blakeman is making it up as he goes along.”

Nassau County Legislator References Trayvon Martin Shooting

Nassau County Legislator Carrié Solages essentially referenced the Trayvon Martin shooting during his comments regarding the controversial plan. He spoke from his own personal perspective as being a father to emphasize the concerns that many parents expressed to him about the proposal.

Source: Wikimedia//David Shankbone

Solages referenced a young man that may decide to wear a hood while he is “out and about, minding his business” during one of the vaguely-defined “states of emergency.” Solages expressed, “God forbid an overzealous George Zimmerman-type of person chooses to think that young man is a danger.”

Online Petition Demands Plan Abandonment, Got Over 1,400 Signatures In A Week

An online petition posted on the website specifically demands that County Executive Blakeman abandon his controversial plan to deputize civilians. The petition reportedly generated over 1,400 signatures within a week of its initial launch.

Source: Pixabay/Max

Further reports claim that the proposal roiled Nassau County and the surrounding region since the concept of the plan was first introduced in media reports.

Nassau County Police Already has Nearly 2,500 Police Officers Employed

Nassau County reportedly has close to 2,500 police officers already on the payroll. The National Guard even stepped in to assist during such emergencies as Hurricane Sandy.

Source: Wikimedia/BigNigFries

The grounds for which County Executive Blakeman would even declare a “state of emergency” are not very clear. It is noteworthy that Nassau County was reportedly deemed the safest community in the United States just a couple years ago, according to the US News and World Report.

DeRiggi-Whitton Says Plan Reminds Citizens Of KKK, Paramilitary Nazi Groups

DeRiggi-Whitton also explained that the controversial plan of deputizing citizens has sparked deeply-rooted fears and concerns with some members of the community. She claimed that the plan to arm citizens reminds quite a few citizens of the historic KKK presence within the United States.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

It reportedly also reminds people of the Brownshirts from the Nazi era. The Brownshirts were members of an early paramilitary organization from the Nazi regime that were founded by Adolf Hitler in Munich in 1921.

Brownshirts Were ‘Assault Division’ Of Nazi Era, Instrumental In Rise To Power

The SA were called the Sturmabteilung, which means “assault division” in German. The group also were referred to by such names as “Storm Troopers” and “Brownshirts.”

Source: Wikimedia Commons

History shows that the Brownshirts played a key role in the rise to power of Nazis. They were widely known for operating outside of the law when exercising violent intimidation on the Jewish population and the leftists within Germany.

Most Brownshirts Were Former Military Veterans, Viewed As ‘Ruffians And Bullies’

The Nuremberg Military Tribunal labeled the SA as a group that was composed of mostly “ruffians and bullies.” Studies show that most of the Brownshirts were military veterans that were upset by their treatment in the aftermath of World War I.

Source: Wikimedia/Hovallef

When fights erupted, the Weimar police frequently appeared powerless. This created an opportunity for the SA to apparently restore law and order – which gave Hitler even more popularity and power among the people.

Local Law Enforcement Deputized Civilians During Civil Rights Movement

There were also deputized civilians used in the South during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s. Some civilians were deputized to suppress civil rights activism in addition to enforcing segregation in certain states.

Source: Wikimedia/Tullio Saba

These deputized civilians were given the power to intimidate and harass those that were promoting and showing public support for equal rights. It even allowed them to directly confront these individuals while armed.

The Wild West Featured Deputized Civilians, Posses To Maintain Order

Another era in U.S. history were deputized civilians were used to allegedly maintain order was the Wild West era of the late 1800s. It was common for sheriffs to deputize civilians when forming a posse.

Source: Wikimedia/John C. H. Grabill

These groups were typically created to chase bandits and robbers in addition to recovering stolen property. Studies have shown that the concept of “posse comitatus” was first established during this era of history, allowing the community to enforce the law under the leadership of a marshal or deputized sheriff.