Updates from NYSTPBA President Tom Mungeer
A man's GOT to know his limitations. - Dirty Harry Callahan With much pomp and circumstance, including fireworks displays throughout the state, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Tuesday that because New York met the threshold of 70% of adults in the state having received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, most remaining state-mandated, pandemic-related restrictions - including capacity restrictions and social-distancing rules – had been removed. One important note about this press conference turned ceremony, which was held at One World Trade Center, was that the NYSTPBA was asked to attend to receive the token plaque on behalf of all 60,000 police officers in New York state thanking us for our participation and response during the nearly 16 months since the pandemic was first recognized on March 1, 2020. The governor’s politics are not mine, however, I do respect and will acknowledge the fact that his office recognizes that New York State Troopers are a “cut above.” For the record, he hugged me, not vice versa… Weakened The Senate gaveled out of session and snubbed Governor Cuomo and his proposal to restructure the leadership of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Those of us who intently watch Albany politics viewed this refusal to pass the measure as another indication of how much his once-mighty political power has diminished since January. Althoughthe NYS Legislature left intact many of the broad emergency powers bestowed upon him last year, giving him the authority to enact new executive orders to immediately override any local and state law, they amount to nothing more than wooden nickels if he cannot get his initiatives passed. Juneteenth President Biden signed legislation into law that establishes June 19 as a national holiday following the precedent set by our own state last October. As reported last month, instead of an additional pass day, the NYSTPBA successfully negotiated for all members to receive an additional 8 hours of annual leave, which can be carried over to the following year and also has a monetary value at retirement. NYSBA The New York State Bar Association has stuck their nose into our business and came out with a 100-plus page report of recommendations for police reform. I will not bore you with the details, but I think my press release in response gets our point across adequately. It appears that the report released by the New York State Bar Association’s Task Force on Racial Injustice and Police Reform is nothing more than a regurgitation of police reform ideas cherry picked from activist groups throughout the nation, many of which coincidentally, the New York State Police already had in place or have recently incorporated. Suspiciously, some of the ideas would increase litigation against members of law enforcement considerably, thus providing a windfall for the members of the Bar which they represent. https://nysba.org/app/uploads/2021/06/Report-by-the-Task-Force-for-Racial-Injustice-and-Police-Reform-Fixed-TOC-with-Comments-and-cover.pdf The Fruits of the 2021 Legislative Session As I mentioned last week, a bill was introduced by the legislative leadership and was subsequently passed, to provide a pool of money to be available for any impeachments, impeachment trials or “investigations and hearings necessary to inform the decisions relating to such proceedings.” Well, Governor Cuomo signed that bill which, my friends, is akin to the condemned prisoner who also happens to be on the construction team that builds the gallows. I would like to know how much the state will now spend on updating and reprinting official paperwork and webpages now that the word “inmate” will be replaced with “incarcerated individual” as it pertains to state law. According to the sponsors, Sen. Gustavo Rivera (D-Bronx) and Assemblyman Jeff Aubry (D-Queens), the change was necessary since the new term “recognizes the humanity” of the individuals in question without imposing a label. I have an idea, how about not becoming an inmate, “incarcerated individual” in the first place. Vaccine card forgery - A bill that would make it illegal to create a fake vaccination card was passed. Additional SLIMS training? Bueller?... Bueller?... Anyone? Baseball – A bill was passed by the Legislature that would make baseball the official sport of New York. The measure was first proposed by students at Cooperstown Elementary School. I actually like this one. Although we all know that baseball was not really invented in Cooperstown, screw it. Nobody else took the initiative to get inventive and build a museum. Our own version of the Passenger Pigeon Speed cameras – Legislation was passed to place speed cameras in certain construction zones throughout the state. Over the next five years, the DOT Commissioner, "in consultation with" the NYSP Superintendent, will have input on where to place 20 cameras on controlled access highways and an additional 10 on the Thruway. Until the late 1980s, railroad unions were successful in keeping laws intact that required all freight trains in North America to have a caboose and a full crew for safety. Eventually, technology advanced to the point where the caboose was rendered obsolete and numerous union positions were lost as a result. Seeds are currently being sown to effect change under the guise of technology. The NYSTPBA has been fighting speed cameras for years because technologies like red-light cameras and speed cameras would take a large share of the human element out of traffic enforcement, replacing a living, breathing Trooper with a piece of machinery in order to boost revenue significantly to the state and its municipalities. A camera has no discretion or sympathy and will enforce a predetermined hard number programmed by someone most likely not wearing a grey uniform. Am I disparaging an initiative which, on its face, appears to increase safety? Well, it is Division’s problem to worry about enforcement of the V&T laws to increase safety. It’s my job to make sure New York State Troopers still have a job. Quote of the Week – the Power of the Almighty Dollar “I just looked at it from the standpoint of ‘how come police officers don’t pay anything when they take away someone’s constitutional rights?’ It just defies any logic.” Jeff Harrison, CEO of Prymus Insurance, whose company stands to make hundreds of millions of dollars if their first-of-its-kind liability insurance product for police officers becomes more sought after if qualified immunity is eliminated nationwide. Dirty Politics regarding the George Floyd Act - Continued As I mentioned last week, Sen. Cory Booker has apparently negotiated a deal with the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and the Fraternal Order of Police behind everyone’s back, including Republican point-man Sen. Tim Scott. The National Association of Police Associations (NAPO), of which we are a proud member, is currently working feverously to counteract Senator Booker’s deal. Among the many problems with Senator Booker’s so-called arrangement is it sets up a situation where the Department of Justice will be managing the hiring, training, deployment, and policy, including use of force and equipment, for every state and local agency. In addition, · It authorizes $750 million for the investigation and prosecution of state and local officers involved in use of force incidents. While violent crime rates have skyrocketed in cities and communities around the country, instead of putting these resources toward prosecuting violent criminals, it creates a false narrative that there is rampant use of force by officers who must be prosecuted. · It calls for the national establishment of civilian review boards which is overly broad and does not include due process protections for officers. Reminder - 2021 NTC Picnic The three NJSP unions are joining forces to host the 2021 NTC Picnic in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the New Jersey State Police. Thursday, September 9, 2021 Seaport Pier North Wildwood, NJ Purchase tickets by visiting: https://www.ntcpicnic2021.com/ This email is an automated notification, which is unable to receive replies. To send a comment to the NYSTPBA, please contact us at email@example.com.
The Police Benevolent Association of the New York State Troopers 120 State St. Albany, New York 12207 (518) 462-7448 http://www.nystpba.org