Annual PBA Awards Night
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Who’s looking out for our police while they’re looking out for us? (Another Voice)
By Christopher P. Scanlon - December 18, 2014
In recent months, we’ve heard a national and local call for officers to learn how to respect and work with the communities they serve. This respect MUST be mutual. Respect is earned, not implicit. Somewhere along the way, this has been forgotten in today’s society. Our officers are spit on, verbally abused and even physically attacked. How can we continue to expect them to protect and serve our communities when many citizens do not even show them the same basic respect every human being is entitled to? We cannot.
Exactly when did we begin treating criminals better than our men and women in blue? Too often when a discrepancy arises between accounts of what may or may not have taken place during an arrest, our officers are placed on suspension, without pay, while the alleged offender is considered innocent until proven guilty. Furthermore, where is the support from their superiors that these officers have every right to expect? Although I am against professional misconduct in any line of work, I fully support the right of these officers to have due process of law when suspected misconduct occurs.
According to a University at Buffalo decade long study released in 2008, law enforcement officers are at risk for high blood pressure, increased levels of destructive stress hormones, insomnia, heart problems, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and suicide. They work under extremely stressful, dangerous conditions and see things most of us could not dream of. All of which result in a heightened risk of physical and mental health issues.
Our local Buffalo police officers are no exception. They deal with murderers, rapists, gang members, child molesters and drug dealers on a daily basis. They willingly say goodbye to their families each day, knowing it may be for the last time, to face the evils of the world on our behalf. Performing the due tasks that a police officer is responsible for should be appreciated and applauded, not continuously and publicly scrutinized.
I advise my colleagues in government to proceed with extreme caution when considering limitations on police procedure and policy. I have had many recent discussions with officers throughout the city - black, white, Latino, male, female - and all are concerned with the current climate both locally and nationally. They fear an environment is being fostered that will limit their ability to protect and serve the residents of Buffalo by enabling a total disregard for authority and the law. It is imperative for the safety and well-being of the general public, as well as police officers, that we do not eliminate an officer’s ability to safely and properly do their job.
Christopher P. Scanlon is the South District representative on the Buffalo Common Council
Mayor Brown fails to Negotiate a Police Contract for a Third Straight Term
Mayor Brown has been on the job over 8 years now and he has yet to negotiate a contract with the City’s police union. Every year this mayor touts reduction in crime yet never once has he awarded the men and women who work so diligently to facilitate this reduction.
Over the last 8 plus years the City of Buffalo has set aside over 90 million dollars to settle contracts and yet he has not designated one pay raise to police officers. Every union in the City of Buffalo has had their outstanding contracts settled by this mayor with the exception of the police union. Can anyone justify such a stance?
Inflationary cost has grown over 11% since Mayor Brown took office. Cost of living has increased over 27% in that same period. Bills keep rising and it is tougher and tougher keeping pace in today’s economy. Mayor Brown thinks every other union worker deserves a chance to try to keep their households above this rising tide except police officers. Why is that?
Mayor Brown has granted his Police Commissioner raises totally over 14% in just the last four years, yet the rank and file received nothing. Mayor Brown cites a yearly reduction in crime. How does he think this happens? Does the mayor think that the Police Commissioner is the only responsible party for this reduction? If the Police Commissioner is doing a job that warrants such a large raise wouldn’t the same logic apply to the rank and file officers? Where are their raises?
The Buffalo PBA has tried to negotiate with the Mayor for over a year and we are still no closer to a negotiated contract than they were in 2006. Buffalo Police officers' pay is over 20% less than their counterparts in other municipalities in Western New York. This disparity continues to grow with every passing day, as does the mounting wealth of City’s unreserved fund balances.
Once again this union is forced to have a neutral party settle an unresolved contract. Once again we will only see a partial settlement of a long standing labor dispute and it will only cover a short period of two years. So, the hard working men and women of the Buffalo Police Department will be left without a negotiated contract for yet several more years. When will this vicious cycle end?
Line of Duty Fatalities Increase Dramatically
Any one working in the law enforcement profession should take notice of the drastic increases in police officer fatalities in 2014. The increases are extremely alarming and should shock anyone who stands the line in protecting society. Police officers killed in the line of duty as a result of gun violence this year has increased over 72% from last year and New York State has the highest ratio of these fatalities per capita. Buffalo, NY is still the 4th most violent city in the United States of America. Additionally alarming to these facts is new call of the radical ISIS member to inflict death on any police officer in the United States. We should not lose sight that Buffalo is an international border city and there is a very high potential for the influx of terrorists.
Remember, it is our job to protect society against evil. It is not our job to die performing that duty. Be safe, be careful and be vigilant.
The Buffalo PBA would like to express their sincere condolences to the Pierson family and the entire Rochester Police Department.
The members of the Buffalo Police Benevolent Association have donated over $24,000.00 to the Daryl Pierson Memorial Fund. The Rochester Locust Club has extended heartfelt thanks to all those that have donated to the family of this fallen hero.
If you have not had a chance to donate to the Daryl Pierson Memorial Fund please do so by sending your donation to:
The Daryl Pierson Memorial Fund
c/o The Rochester Police Locust Club, Inc.
1425 Lexington Avenue
Rochester, NY 14606
line of duty fatalities 2014.pdf