Emergency Preparedness or Paramilitary Militia: Suburban Plan Sparks Controversy


Key Points

  • Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman has proposed a plan to deputize private citizens for emergency situations.
  • Critics have labelled it a “militia” and likened it to Nazi “brownshirts.”
  • Blakeman insists the program is necessary to enhance emergency preparedness and protect citizens.
  • The provisional deputies would only be activated in the event of catastrophic emergencies like Superstorm Sandy or severe power outages.
  • To qualify, applicants must have a pistol license, pass a background check, and be medically fit for duty.

Ruling Party’s Proposal Sparks Outrage

Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman has ruffled feathers with his proposal to create a roster of provisional deputies to assist law enforcement in emergency situations. However, the plan has drawn strong opposition from Democrats, who see it as a dangerous and misguided attempt to create a paramilitary force.

Support for Emergency Preparedness

Blakeman maintains that the program is vital for the county’s emergency preparedness, arguing that it will supplement the county police force in extreme situations, such as natural disasters or civil unrest. He insists that the deputies will not have any police powers unless and until an emergency is declared.

Critics’ Concerns

Opponents of the plan have raised concerns that the provisional deputies could be used to suppress political dissent or intimidate minority communities. They have also pointed to the potential for abuse of power and the parallels the program draws to historical examples of vigilante groups.

Background on the Plan

Local authorities have had the authority to deputize individuals in emergencies for over a century. However, Blakeman’s proposal establishes a vetting process and database for potential recruits, allowing for faster activation during emergencies.

Concerns Over Paramilitary Overtones

Critics have likened the provisional deputy roster to a paramilitary organization, arguing that it lacks proper oversight and accountability. They contend that it could become a breeding ground for extremism and potential threats to public safety.

Blakeman Rebuts Accusations

Blakeman has vehemently denied the accusations that his plan is motivated by malicious intent. He maintains that the deputies will be predominantly comprised of retired law enforcement officers and military veterans with proven experience and qualifications.

Strict Eligibility Criteria

To qualify for the program, applicants must meet stringent requirements, including a valid pistol license, a clean criminal background, and medical clearance for physical fitness. Additionally, Blakeman emphasized that the deputies would not be armed unless and until an emergency is declared.


The debate over Nassau County’s provisional deputy plan continues unabated, with proponents arguing for increased emergency preparedness and opponents raising concerns over potential abuses of power and paramilitary overtones. As the program moves forward, it remains to be seen how the two opposing viewpoints will balance with time.

Data sourced from: foxnews.com