Nassau County Police Car

Sophia Hall/WCBS 880

Nassau County Police End Practice Of Using Abbreviations For 'Yellow,' 'Indian' To Refer To Officers' Races

July 30, 2018 - 3:32 pm

MINEOLA, N.Y. (WCBS 880) -- In a shocking practice that goes back to the early 1980s, the Nassau County Police Department until recently was using outdated and now-offensive terms to refer to some of its officers’ racial categorizations.

As WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reported, when a person – male or female – became an officer in the Nassau County Police Department, a letter was put near their name on their personnel paperwork. The letter was a B, H, W, Y, or I.

The Y stood for “yellow” and referred to someone who is Asian, while the I stood for “Indian” and referred to someone who is Native American, a representative admitted.

The practice was uncovered by the New York Civil Liberties Union.

While the practice had been going on since the 1980s, it was immediately stopped when it came to the attention of the police commissioner.

“In this particular situation, this computer program was developed over a quarter century ago and in no way has the use of these letters reflected any bias toward our Asian American or Native American residents,” Nassau County police Detective Lt. Richard LeBrun said in a statement. “We are immediately modifying the use of these demographic notations. Asian Americans and Native Americans will be properly identified in the revisions to this IT system.”

The department said it will also review the NYCU report and look at its recommendations for further action.