NYSTPBA Newsletter News from NYSTPBA President Tom Mungeer In Memoriam Our collective thoughts and prayers go out to the men and women of the Wisconsin State Police upon the line-of-duty death of Master Trooper Daniel Stainbrook on Nov. 15, 2021 resulting from complications of COVID-19. Master Trooper Stainbrook, 42, was a 20-year veteran of the State Police and leaves behind a wife and two teenage daughters. The Travesty Continues Trooper Christopher Baldner has been sitting in the Ulster County Jail for 24 days. What’s Next? A writ of habeas corpus petition has been filed in Albany County Supreme Court for review of the denial of bail and is scheduled to be heard today at 2 p.m. True Justice for All Individuals? New York City Mayor-elect Eric Adams has stated that he wants to make changes to the bail reform law, possibly by giving judges more leeway when it comes to determining who qualifies for pretrial detention. Gov. Kathy Hochul then chimed in and pledged her support by saying, “We will get it done. We will work closely with Eric Adams to make the changes if necessary and first of all, protect public safety number one but ensure we have a system of true justice for all individuals as well.” What about true justice for Trooper Christopher Baldner? Lapdogs Do Bite The news that the Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) revoked the approval it gave former Gov. Andrew Cuomo to publish his 2020 memoir, “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the Covid-19 Pandemic,” could ultimately require him to surrender the $5.1 million he was paid. This action brought a fiery response from his spokesman Richard Azzopardi, "These JCOPE members are acting outside the scope of their authority and are carrying the water of the politicians who appointed them.” The irony of that statement was not lost on many, as JCOPE was largely seen as a shill for the former governor. Albany Times Union Editor Casey Seiler summed it up nicely by stating it was akin to “Dr. Frankenstein issues statement denouncing reanimated creature.” Inspector Jacques Clouseau: "Does your dog bite?" Hotel keeper: “No.” Clouseau stoops to pet the dog, which immediately chomps down on his glove. Clouseau: “I thought you said you dog did not bite." Hotel keeper: "That is not my dog.” - “The Pink Panther Returns” State Politics - The Race to Out-Liberal Each Other With the declaration of their candidacy for governor and attorney general, respectively, I cannot wait to see the progressive, police reform ideas that will be spewed by Jumaane Williams and Zephyr Teachout. On the bright side, I should have ample fodder for my newsletters for months to come. With A Little Help From My Friends What would you do if I sang out of tune? Would you stand up and walk out on me? Lend me your ears and I'll sing you a song, And I'll try not to sing out of key. Oh, I get by with a little help from my friends. - The Beatles It was my honor to assist the Ithaca PBA, fellow members of the Police Conference of New York, and their continued fight against their progressive mayor and his vision to “reimagine” them out of existence. Below is the guest column that was printed in the Ithaca Journal. "Myrick needs to sit down with Ithaca PBA" Your Turn Thomas H. Mungeer Guest Columnist It is with great interest that I have been following the current events unfolding in the city of Ithaca. As a proud Ithaca College alumnus, I feel a certain level of sadness seeing the violent crime wave that is currently engulfing the beautiful city that I called home for four years. Mayor Svante Myrick’s policies regarding public safety and his continued tit-for-tat verbal war with the Ithaca PBA have done nothing but exacerbate the already declining situation. The fact that the Ithaca Police Department is severely undermanned has certainly contributed to the skyrocketing crime rate. It is my understanding that the acting chief is recruiting assistance from the New York State Police to help combat the violence sweeping the city. While it is part of the mission of the New York State Police to assist other agencies throughout the state, make no mistake about it — at best, this is a short-term solution to a long-term problem. My troopers are struggling to police the rural areas of the state because we are short-staffed ourselves, and additional strains on our own resources will only make our jobs much harder and less safe. I urge the mayor to sit down and talk with the leadership of the Ithaca PBA and come to a consensus on what would best fill the needs of the department and the people of the city of Ithaca, because the assistance of the state police is a Band-Aid on an already festering wound. Furthermore, from an outsider’s point of view and as a member of the law enforcement community for nearly three decades, the proposals that the Ithaca PBA has previously proposed earlier this year include what I believe are common-sense solutions to the looming problem at hand. These include urging the city to prioritize sworn-officer responses, hire and deploy civilian responders to work with police, restore previously cut community and proactive police units, and to ensure good stewardship of public resources. Delaying meaningful steps to solve the rapidly rising crime problem could mean the difference of someone’s life, so I implore the mayor and his administration to act swiftly! Thomas H. Mungeer is president of New York State Troopers Police Benevolent Association. National Association of Police Organizations At a recent meeting with NAPO officers and members of the Biden administration, it was made clear that since bipartisan reform efforts failed in Congress, the Administration believes it is time to act on police reform with possible executive actions. However, it was emphasized, that changes to qualified immunity are off the table as any changes to those must be done legislatively in Congress. The Administration is looking at areas where there is common ground between law enforcement and the civil rights community. These issues include training, officer mental health and wellness, officer certification and agency accreditation, data collection, and a national officer decertification database. NAPO is open to the intent of many of the police reform proposals but outlined three main concerns around any policy or action that would: 1) infringe on officers’ due process; 2) curtail officers’ collective bargaining rights or existing collective bargaining agreements; and 3) violate officer confidentiality rights, whether in a national database or in critical incident stress management services or peer counseling services. Perpetuating Disorderliness and Dysfunction The Los Angeles Metro Board of Directors will consider the recommendation of the newly-formed Public Safety Advisory Committee (formed in 2020), which suggested replacing police in the city’s transit system with unarmed “Transit Ambassadors.” They voted on Nov. 3 “to recommend abolishing all three policing contracts, shifting the burden of policing to local agencies and using the $75 million to fund undefined alternatives such as non-profits and yet-to-be developed profits and Metro Ambassadors.” And who said the Defund the Police movement was dead? Et Tu, Brute? While speaking to the Association for a Better New York in Manhattan about infrastructure earlier this week, Governor Hochul roasted my team by stating, “I know the Jets know a lot about infrastructure because they've been rebuilding for 50 years.” Well, we are undefeated in Super Bowl appearances. Hearsay - information received from other people that one cannot adequately substantiate; rumor. The report of another person's words by a witness, which is usually disallowed as evidence in a court of law. The fact that Attorney General Letitia James released thousands of pages of documents on her official website regarding the Cuomo investigation - and the revelation that some of the damaging testimony was based not on eyewitness testimony but on rumor - gives one pause into her overall investigatory skills. Not that I want to defend Cuomo & Co., but when comments are based on "I heard,” and subsequently included in an official report, Cuomo’s camp has a legitimate argument. Any other instance where it did not fit into the gubernatorial candidate’s agenda, it would be called hearsay and excluded. This makes me question other investigations… Hopefully as everyone is enjoying their Thanksgiving with their families next week - thank you to those of you who are working and keeping the rest of us safe - please remember to keep Trooper Christopher Baldner and his family in your collective thoughts and prayers. 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.
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