Nassau County, NY - Shabbos Morning Police Action At Woodmere Synagogue Angers Orthodox Worshippers
Nassau County, NY - Elected officials and congregants expressed concern at a meeting this week after Nassau County police raided a popular Long Island synagogue on Saturday morning just as services were about to begin.
Seven members of the Nassau County Police Department paid a visit to the Young Israel of Woodmere, the largest Orthodox synagogue on Long Island on May 14th, according to Newsday.
Police said that they were there to interview the synagogue’s security personnel after being tipped off to possible gun license violations.
Steven Zuller, chairman of the synagogue’s board of trustees, said that the synagogue employs private security for the safety of its members.
“We definitely have a lot of security,” said Zuller. “Our membership’s security and well being is one of the most important things. That’s top priority for anything we do.”
Police interviewed the security guards outside the synagogue’s doors, never setting foot inside the building. Synagogue officials said that several hundred congregants were present at the time, some of whom were disturbed by the incident.
“At no time did our members enter the temple of intentionally disrupt services,” said Steven Skrynecki, chief of department for the NCPD. “While on property, we did interview several security personnel outside the temple.”
Police said that no violations were found and a meeting was held this past Monday between police, synagogue officials and local elected officials to try to smooth ruffled feathers.
“It appears that a police department investigation was legitimate, but all agree that it was poorly executed, poorly timed and not well thought out,” said Hempstead Town Board member Bruce Blakemen, who took part in the meeting.
Both sides acknowledged that it was important to maintain good relations between the synagogue and the NCPD and a second meeting has been scheduled for Thursday May 26th.
Skrynecki said that his department has received several complaints about the raid from congregants who felt the incident suggested “inappropriate timing and demeanor on the part of our officers,” but defended the raid saying that police are required to investigate all complaints regarding potentially unauthorized or illegal weapons.
“Upon receiving information such as that, the department is duty bound to take prompt action to maintain public safety and safety within or around a private entity,” said Skrynecki.
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