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Local 724 Political News
Keep it right here for you latest Team 724 news and events.
Political Director Chuck Flynn will posting vital info to the campaign
and Team 724's next move..

SEPTEMBER UPDATE

 

Here we are already with that old September feeling of summer passing, vacations nearly done, obligations gathering, books and football in the air-another fall, another turned page. Where does the time go?

Our members extend our sympathy and condolences to the family of Lt. Rocco Bascilia FDNL (Retired) and his fellow firefighters on the news of his recent passing. Rocco served the fire service for over 24 years working under some of the most dangerous conditions imaginable, whether rushing into a burning building or providing emergency rescue services. He also served as union president of Local 1522 and credited with bringing them a well deserved pension plan allowing them to retire with dignity. We thank him for his commitment to keeping the community safe and protecting his fellow firefighter's working conditions.

Our annual telephone fundraiser conducted by TCI America benefiting the New London Police Union is in progress. Your generous donations no matter how small helps us support many local civic organizations and defray some operating costs including our Web site allowing us to keep the public informed on our organization activities. In fact we are upgrading our web domain with a new modern look from our friends at Pyramid Marketing, Design and Technology with a showcase date within the next 60 days.
If you're able, please consider making your contribution by sending your check payable to New London Police Union, P.O. Box 135, New London, CT. 06320. We thank you in advance for your help. For the many businesses and residents who have already contributed this year, we are grateful for your continued support
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This past month NLPD said goodbye to Officers Mike Laichenko and Gus Salas with a combined 30 plus years of police service chose to leave police work for a career change. We salute them for their public service and gratitude for their personal sacrifices, dedication, perseverance and professionalism they have shown protecting the life and property of all citizens. Despite the long hours away from home, being ordered in for additional short staffed shifts, missed holidays, weekends and events with friends and family along with the danger they sometimes faced in the course of discharging their duty, they were always the first at a crime scene. Best of luck in your future endeavors, we'll take the watch from here.

US Attorney Andrew Lellingin Boston recently commented on the overheated politics and absurd rhetoric to defund and disband police stated, "local police are not optional- they are in fact crucial to maintaining a safe and free society". With so much vile, distrust of police and every action they take considered improper until proven right, many officers now question if it's worth the personal and professional risk to themselves and their family to continue in a thankless job.
Nationwide police are leaving agencies. In Colorado over 250 have left in 2020, NYPD 500, Chicago 400, Baltimore 300 per year since 2015, Washington DC 70% are considering getting out. Connecticut State Police went from 1248 troopers a few years ago to slightly over 800. Twenty plan to retire in the next 60 days and 400 are retirement eligible.
At NLPD as of this writing three active officers that we know of have also applied elsewhere looking to leave with more discussing their employment options to get away from urban policing or law enforcement all together. The new Police Accountability Bill if not amended before the July 2021 when the full implementation date of the new qualified immunity provision takes effect may see an additional seven officers leave not to mention a recruitment crisis.
Low recruitment numbers nation-wide including here New London, have caused a workforce crisis. As of this writing NLPD is authorized for ten new officers: six from a federal grant, two funded by the city and two replacement funded positions due to recent resignations.
Thirty applicants were invited to the physical agility, eleven attended resulting in four candidates passing and that’s before serious the vetting processes of background investigation, polygraph and psychological occurs. The fact is very few want to be police officers in this current environment. While the average person may not care, they certainly will when its them forced to wait for someone - anyone - to respond to their 911 call for help because of our anticipated critical staffing levels. Don't think it will happen to you? With absolute certainty - it will.

Former left coast Oregonian, self proclaimed activist and current Police Community Relations Committee (PCRC) member Kris Wraight after being voted back in for another term immediately brought the committee way outside of its scope of authority again with her latest concern. This time complaining our standards for use of force are not good enough and wants all New London police officers be unarmed. Meaning all New London cops prohibited from carrying or possessing any lethal or less lethal weapons. No rifles, handguns, less lethal shot gun, taser, baton or cap stun - nothing.
Former US Attorney General Ed Meese recently wrote in The Federalist , "to ask police to do their jobs in extremely dangerous environments without adequate means of protection defies logic..It’s a false idea that disarming the police would usher in an era of non-violent conflict resolution in which nobody gets hurt and everyone gets along. That’s not the real world. In the real world, there are criminals committing serious crimes. They are an active and powerful force, and police departments were created specifically to counter that force. Defunding and disarming the police would only cede ground to mayhem and chaos."
Why are progressives never satisfied, always looking for change? In these uncertain times regardless of how radical the idea, these demands for change are from people who have absolutely, positively no idea what police officers do on a day to day basis attempts to change the way law enforcement does business is painful.
It appears politicians and corporate heads are bowing to the power of the mob and doing what they demand. Well-thought-out decisions are being replaced by a desire to keep from being a target. To insist on an all or nothing approach with no patience for thoughtful incremental change only makes matters worse.
Union leadership recently sent letters of thanks and support to Senators Paul Formica, Heather Somers and Representative Joe delaCruz on voting against the recent Police Accountability and Transparency Bill (HB-6004). While they all agree with the concept of better policing they understood some serious problems with the Bill as written that was rushed for a vote without being properly vetted.

Here are some problems we have with HB-6004 including violations of police officers’ substantive and procedural due process rights not to mention several constitutional issues.
Many police officers have said the new law will hobble proactive policing and expose officers to financial ruin and hostile scrutiny from clueless citizen and elected officials review panels. Such as: changing the standard for the application of qualified immunity; and limits police officers’ due process rights to interlocutory appeals; unconstitutionally vague decertification standards – whereby a police officer can be decertified for engaging in “conduct that undermines public confidence in law enforcement;” and relating to penalties for failure to intervene and report -- imposes criminal penalties pertaining only to police officers for acts outside the scope of the criminal statutes.
There are also significant changes to the use of force standards under General Statutes Section 53a-22 for when a police officer can use deadly force, inserts an “objectively reasonable person/civilian” 4th Amendment standard in the analysis of when it is appropriate for a peace officer to use force. But the United States Supreme Court 4th Amendment standard under Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386 (1989) has a “reasonable police officer at the scene” standard. The Supremacy Clause of the US Constitution under Article Six, Clause 2, states that state law is preempted if it actually conflicts with Federal law.
Another concern is the bill contains vague terms such as “reasonable alternatives” and “de-escalation measures.” The Due Process clause of the US Constitution requires that a criminal law such as this 6004 proposed Use of Force statute must give fair notice of the conduct it punishes; and a state criminal statute cannot invite arbitrary enforcement. Such a statute would be deemed Constitutionally void for vagueness.

Several highly effective attorneys representing various statewide police unions were granted a meeting with Governor Lamont's senior staffers who acknowledged the concerns in the Bill raised by lawyers but refuse to intercede or suspend elements until properly vetted allowing the Bill to remain intact as law.
Some state Representatives and Senators have been dismissive of any concerns about the bill especially qualified immunity, claiming the "good cops have nothing to worry about". Also suggesting by implication those that do leave due to the new law may have been some of those "bad cops". That's the supposedly nebulous group of dangerous Connecticut cops that activists are quick to proclaim exists in every agency marauding on the public they love to speak of but can't provide any facts or specifics as to who they are or what they did.
Qualified immunity is something a judge can grant depending on the circumstances. In federal law, police officers enjoy qualified immunity for their acts and omissions. Unless their conduct violates “clearly established law,” they are immune. Plaintiff attorney Norm Pattis who made a career suing police claims, "the law is stillborn. It changes nothing."
However, police use of force attorney Elliot Spector's viewpoint is rather different and troubling for any working police officer in Connecticut. Spector stated , "The statute creates a separate cause of action for State Constitutional claims to circumvent federal qualified immunity. There still is a limited defense of governmental immunity but unlike “federal qualified immunity” there is no interlocutory appeal. This increases the burdens of litigation and the risk of playing Russian roulette before a jury."

An interlocutory appeal is an appeal of a ruling by a trial court that is made before the trial itself has concluded. It asks an appellate court to review an aspect of the case before the trial has concluded. In the U.S., such an appeal can be made if extraordinary circumstances exist that would prevent the case from being properly decided if the appeal wasn't heard.
Spector continued, "Because almost all use of force cases are brought by law violators/criminals who fail to comply with instructions, resist, fight or flee, this statute benefits those criminals and their plaintiff attorneys. It creates greater risks to innocent citizens due to de-policing, reduced pools of quality candidates and hesitation due to the new use of force standards. It creates greater risk of liability and burdens of litigation for officer. It increases litigation costs for taxpayers who have to pay for defense costs, settlements/judgments going into the pockets of resisting criminals and attorney fees awarded under the statute to their attorney’s."

Since the bill many senior officers of various ranks look to July 1, 2021 as their retirement launch platform unless there are changes to the law. What remains unknown are what younger officers may leave who are not retirement eligible.
The constant calls for defund/abolish/fuck the police will come home to roost when our cops walk away from the job. They have worked too hard for their livelihoods to be taken away by frivolous lawsuits from opportunistic resisting criminals. Even if they did nothing wrong ask yourself, just how many lawsuit defenses can a person sustain before going broke, their liability insurance policy is cancelled or issued a non-renewable quote?
The bill should have been more fair and balanced instead being slanted against police and appearing to favor criminal behavior. Pursuit laws have become so restrictive it's almost impossible to chase a criminal who chooses to flee and yet the crime remains just a misdemeanor with no increase in penalties for those who willfully decide to flee from police.
Likewise any use of force by police is now subject to extreme scrutiny yet the penalty for suspects actively resisting arrest or interfering with an arrest remains just a misdemeanor. Consent searches for weapons and contraband in traffic stops are now prohibited without probable cause. This now limits the number and kinds of traffic stops which has been a tremendous tool to detect other crimes has been restricted which only encourages criminals to engage in more criminal behavior since they no longer fear detection and apprehension.

So where do we go from here? We are reminded of two quotes from John F. Kennedy that have relevance to this present day mess, "We cannot negotiate with people who say what's mine is mine and what's yours is negotiable" and "It is compromise that prevents each set of reformers from crushing the group at the other end of the political spectrum." In that same spirit both sides need to engage in meaningful dialogue and find compromise to fix this bill. The alternatives are worse.

The views expressed by the author may not necessarily reflect the views of all Local 724 members.


 

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Why Political Action

THE DECISIONS that a legislative body makes, whether it is a school board, city council, county board, state legislature, or the U.S. Congress, affect AFSCME members and their families in dramatic ways.

Elected officials vote on budgets that affect employee wages, benefits, working conditions and pensions. They vote on issues of particular concern to AFSCME members, like privatization, and they vote on broader issues of concern to all working families, such as health care reform and workers' compensation. That's why working people need to have allies among elected officials. And that's why working people need to work to elect these allies.

The Local 724 executive board has the collective responsibility to provide vision and direction for the local. It is up to the leadership team to look ahead, set goals and develop a plan to make strategic planning a critical element to having a strong union which can only come about when membership is informed, educated and active.

Unions can never hope to match the hundreds of millions of dollars big business pours into every election. But working people have superior numbers, so they can get out in the streets and work for candidates. And if members pool their cash, unions can help make sure that their endorsed candidates have enough funds to compete against business-backed opponents in the ever-more important media ad wars.

Through the political process we can be involved in setting important public policy. Through the political process public employees can elect representatives who are sensitive to maintaining vital public services and committed to dealing with workers fairly.

Local 724 accomplishes this through political action in conjunction with the exercise of collective bargaining process, growth and community involvement to produce a just and rewarding workplace.

   

Local 724 gets recognized on the national level!

On January 28, 2011 at the Council 4 Campaign for the Middle Class Seminar in Meriden The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), AFL-CIO thanked the New London Police Union- Local 724 for their efforts in the Labor 2010 campaign.

Lee Saunders, International Secretary-Treasurer and AFSCME Council 4's Sal Luciano who is also an International Vice President honored Local 724 with a certificate "In recognition of their tireless work and commitment during the 2010 State of Connecticut general elections". To this day labor leaders throughout the state continue to praise our Malloy/Wyman Pre-Debate Rally as a new benchmark of what local labor can achieve when committed to a goal.

Chuck Flynn was honored to accept the award on behalf of our entire membership which will hang proudly in the 724 "Hall of Justice". I want to personally thank everyone that participated in some way no matter how big or small. Our election success was due to the collective efforts of our TEAM-Together Everyone Accomplishes More.

 


724 helps East Lyme fight the cause

Why Political Action


Shooting from the lip
Political Director C Flynn

4 Crippling Leadership Mistakes