NYSTPBA Newsletter 2021 Year in Review from NYSTPBA President Tom Mungeer Before we close the door on 2021 and look forward to 2022, let us first reflect on the last 12 months. I know many of us are weary of the pandemic that continues to plague our social as well as professional interactions. Every day, however, those who took the oath to protect and serve put on our uniforms and strap on our gun belts and answer the call. That is because we carry the title of New York State Troopers. First, though, let me pontificate about the week’s events in my typical fashion that everyone has grown used to over these past two years. Gov. Kathy Hochul is set to give her first State of the State address on Jan. 5 and many of us are anxiously waiting to hear her priorities in this ever-so-important election year. While Wednesday’s address might give us a preview of what is to come, the real “meat and potatoes” will be in her upcoming Executive Budget within the next few weeks. I will give a further synopsis of the various pieces of legislation that are in play – both good and bad – for the NYSTPBA membership in next week’s newsletter. However, the following tidbit caught my eye the other day that really cuts through the chase and explains what the NYSTPBA Legislative Team and I deal with day in and day out – Circular Logic 101 The Senate’s Committee on Investigations and Government Operations chairman, James Skoufis, is set to announce a report that 41 percent of a sample of 63 studies that the executive branch was required to conduct by laws enacted between 2016 and 2018 “were never completed and/or submitted.” So, in other words, a study of a bill to have the state conduct a study of bills that mandate state studies has reached a conclusion: A whole lot of these studies go nowhere. There you have it, dealing with state government is like dealing with a help call center in Calcutta or trying to make a change to your Sirius/XM subscription (which is basically the same thing). Former Gov. Andrew “Houdini” Cuomo For the second consecutive week, former Governor Cuomo has escaped prosecution for alleged sexual harassment. Westchester County District Attorney Miriam E. Rocah declined to pursue prosecution, stating that the women’s allegations were “credible” and Mr. Cuomo’s conduct was “concerning,” but his conduct was not criminal under state law. When reached at the NYSTPBA office by the Old Gray Lady (aka “The New York Times”), I had this to say - Thomas H. Mungeer, the president of the New York State Troopers Police Benevolent Association, said in a statement that he “would not play Monday morning quarterback regarding the district attorney’s decision to not prosecute the former governor’s abhorrent conduct against a trooper.” “However,” he added, “our trooper continues to live with what happened to her at the hands of someone she was tasked to protect.” I find it interesting that Ms. Rocah believes this does not warrant her valuable time, yet she has no problem going after police officers on bullshit charges (see my July 2, 2021 newsletter). Former Gov. Andrew “The Phoenix?” Cuomo Based on the most recent avoidance of accountability, Skidmore College professor of political science Christopher B. Mann was recently asked for his opinion if Mr. Cuomo had a chance to make a political comeback. “I think it would take a really unlikely alignment of lucky stars for him to be successful. Is there a path? Absolutely: a multi-way primary in which you get kind of a circular firing squad dynamic of different candidates going after each other, (or) a primary in which he’s running against some other tainted or weakened candidate. If he gets in with that type of scenario, he might be the lesser of evils.” He added, referencing Mr. Cuomo’s sizable campaign account, "There are 18 million reasons why he can run for public office again if he so chooses.” National Law Enforcement Museum – Washington, D.C. In honor of National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day, all active and retired law enforcement officers and their guests are invited to visit the National Law Enforcement Museum for free on Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022 from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Economic Good News Heading into the last day of 2021, the stock market is moving toward its third consecutive year of good gains. Year-to-date, here are the numbers: Dow Jones: + 18.923%; NASDAQ: + 22.139%; S&P 500: + 27.227%. Despite inflationary fears, politics, low interest rates and the fear of Omicron coronavirus variant, the S&P hit 70 record highs in 2021. Hotel Bathroom Police Governor Hochul signed legislation banning those tiny plastic containers of shampoo and body lotion found in many hotel rooms as well as Styrofoam takeout containers, cups, bowls, etc. Buckle up, we should be arriving back in the 19th century any time now. Quote of the Week "Nobody loved football more than Coach. He was football. He was an incredible sound board to me and so many others. There will never be another John Madden, and we will forever be indebted to him for all he did to make football and the NFL what it is today." - NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Hall of Famer John Madden, who died Tuesday at the age of 85. Alan Dershowitz I must say, I am quickly becoming a fan of Alan Dershowitz. Here is his take on the conviction of former Minneapolis Police Officer Kim Potter. I urge you to read his opinion titled “The dangerous trend behind Officer Kim Potter's conviction” in its entirety as it appeared in The Hill. Here is a sampling - The jury’s conviction of Minnesota police officer Kim Potter for the death of Daunte Wright, coupled with the judge’s denial of bail pending her appeal, is a double injustice with dangerous implications for policing in America. Officer Potter, a decorated policewoman with more than two decades of service, simply did not commit a crime. The prosecution conceded that she did not intend to shoot Wright and that she made a mistake by pulling out and firing a gun instead of a Taser. Under American law, honest mistakes are not crimes — even if they result in tragic deaths. For example, an elderly driver accidentally putting a foot on the gas instead of the brake and killing a child is not necessarily a crime. It becomes a crime only if the action was reckless, involving a conscious decision to engage in conduct which the defendant knows poses a high risk of serious injury or death. … Officer Potter is not a criminal. She did not commit a crime. She appeared devastated by her mistake, both at the time of the incident and when she testified in her own defense. Both justice and the rule of law require that she be set free. https://thehill.com/opinion/judiciary/587236-the-dangerous-trend-behind-officer-kim-potters-conviction This Week’s Sign that the Apocalypse is Upon Us Joseph Iniguez, chief of staff to Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón, became belligerent and threatening toward an officer after the Tesla driven by his fianceé was stopped for making an illegal U-turn on Dec. 11. Mr. Iniguez, who also happens to be the head of the district attorney’s Justice Integrity Division that oversees officer misconduct, proceeded to exit the vehicle, berate the officer and threated to have the officer placed on the “Brady List” which would have led to that officer’s credibility attacked in court. Oh yes, he then filmed the interaction because “he was concerned for the welfare of his fianceé.” The end result was that he was arrested for public intoxication. We all know what happened next – Mr. Iniguez filed a personnel complaint against the arresting officer although he has not yet, not surprisingly, released the video footage of the encounter. If this surprises you, it shouldn’t. Remember, they were caught driving a Tesla. 2021 - A Year in Review 2021 was a lot better than 2020 but we are still not back to normal life yet as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to force us to change our social and work habits and the end is not yet in sight. On a brighter note, it does appear as though the pendulum has started to swing back after the onslaught of so-called police reform measures that were being peddled out. In the end, the men and women of the NYSP performed as they always have since 1917 - admirably and professionally - and 2022 will be no different. This year will be extremely tough with a dismal financial outlook and ominous qualified immunity legislation on the not-so-distant horizon. The NYSTPBA Board of Directors is prepared for rough waters. We are rolling up our sleeves and jumping into the fray to provide each one of you the back-up you so desperately need in these times. Happy New Year and please stay safe out there! Let Us Remember the Troopers We Lost in 2021 Retired Trooper Scott P. Enser died on March 20, 2021, at age 58, following a lengthy illness due to his exposure and service at the Ground Zero site following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Trooper Joseph J. Gallagher died on March 26, 2021, at age 38, three years after being struck by a vehicle while assisting a motorist. Retired Trooper Edward T. Kiluk died on April 4, 2021, at age 60, following a well-fought battle with cancer stemming from his assignment at the Ground Zero site after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Trooper James J. Monda died on Aug. 22, 2021, at age 45, while working a marine detail. Signal 30 Benefit Fund and the NYSTPBA Scholarship Fund We are proud to announce that the PBA’s Signal 30 Benefit Fund distributed approximately $600,000 in grants and scholarships during 2021. This year we assisted NYS Troopers, their families and others in the law enforcement community by providing funds for medical treatments not covered by medical insurance, travel to seek medical treatments, loss of property due to fire and flooding and other expenses that arose due to hardships and unforeseen circumstances. I am especially proud of the NYSTPBA Scholarship Fund. We awarded a total of 58 scholarships, up from the 25 awarded when the program was started seven years ago, and we are striving to increase the number of scholarships even further in the future. In addition, Signal 30 Board member Steve Edelson, his wife Ellen and daughter Lynda, supported the sixth year of the Sgt. Jeffry T. Edelson Memorial Scholarship. This included 22 scholarships totaling $35,000 made in remembrance of Sgt. Edelson, who tragically lost his life on Nov. 23, 2003 while performing his duties on State Route 55 in the town of Liberty, Troop F. The applications will be available on the PBA website on April 1, 2022 with a deadline of June 15, 2022. For more information on the Signal 30 Benefit Fund or to make a donation, please visit our website at https://signal30.org/. State Trooper Surgeons Program The State Trooper Surgeons program is a Healthcare Navigation Service for PBA members and their immediate families. Consisting of more than 3,600 physicians and nearly every major hospital in New York state, the program is designed to improve access to the best possible care when needed. The executive care team has helped hundreds of active and retired Troopers this year alone to obtain access to specialized surgery, second opinions, and appointments with highly regarded physicians. The program also continues to offer free health screenings throughout the state. If you need assistance, please contact Emily Dixon, Executive Care Coordinator at 518-462-7448 Ext. 140. PBA Health and Wellness Supplemental Trust We are proud to report that the PBA Health and Wellness Supplemental Trust is currently valued at nearly $21 million! A concept modeled after the New York City-based union Variable Supplement Funds, it is probably the biggest breakthrough for the PBA membership since the advent of collective bargaining more than 50 years ago. It will provide our members financial security far into retirement for their future by helping offset the ever-increasing cost of health care. The PBA-supported COLA that Gov. George Pataki signed into law in 2000 guaranteed a permanent and automatic increase in monthly pension payments for current and future retirees and although helpful, it has proven inadequate. For example, the September 2021 COLA equals 1.4% for an annual increase of $21 per month before taxes. The first payouts will be tabulated in December 2023 and will be in the mailboxes of the eligible recipients in January 2024. For more in-depth details regarding the PBA Health and Wellness Supplemental Trust, please visit the NYSTPBA Treasurer page in the members only area of our website at www.nystpba.org. Looking Forward to 2022 Please mark your calendars – Thursday, Sept. 8, 2022 – as the NYSTPBA is proud to be hosting the National Troopers Coalition Picnic in Buffalo. Further information will be coming soon. As always, we appreciate your support. As the NYSTPBA begins our 79th year, your outstanding dedication to public safety and unparalleled professionalism make it easy for us to advocate on your behalf for improvements to your resources and working conditions. We will continue to communicate our tireless efforts through the NYSTPBA website and my newsletters such as this one. Stay safe. This email is an automated notification, which is unable to receive replies. To send a comment to the NYSTPBA, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Police Benevolent Association of the New York State Troopers 120 State St. Albany, New York 12207 (518) 462-7448 http://www.nystpba.org