724 Political News
We welcome the start of 2019 with a pause to remember the 148 law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty in 2018. According to Officer Down Memorial Page this year's deaths are up over 7% from last year, 52 of those by gunfire a 15% increase from 2017. Ten officers were female and 32 were military veterans. The average age of these LEO's was 41 with an average tour of duty at 12 years and 5 months. The month of May had the highest number killed with 18. Wednesday and Thursday's were tied as the deadliest with 25 officers lost on each day
Too many of our brother and sister officers killed these last few years in a country that seems to have turned it's backs on police officers and the jobs they do. These brave officers gave everything they had to protect and serve our communities. They didn’t do it for fame, for money, or for glory. They did it because they wanted to make their communities a little safer, a little better, a little more secure. We mourn their loss and extend our sympathies to each officer's family and remind everyone that police lives matter too. May 2019 be a safer year for police officers everywhere.
We take this moment to thank FDNL firefighter Joe Nott and his wife NLPD Officer Deana for their herculean efforts organizing another annual PD/FD Christmas Toy Drive benefiting 39 families with toys, clothing and diapers from the New London Neighborhood Alliance. The Nott's are honest to goodness real unsung heroes who quietly give a lot of themselves throughout the years helping many less fortunate people from all walks of life. Countless times while on duty have come across situations where have reached into their own pockets to help someone in need - especially children. They don't do it for recognition, in fact they are probably angry that we make this public at all -they do it solely to help those in their times of need. Thank you Joe and Deana for making a such a positive impact in people's lives in our community.
We also recognize our members helped brighten the holidays for some area families this year, donating $600 in shop rite cards to Covenant Shelter families, delivered winter boots to kids in need. Kudos to our day shift personnel who gave away 20 complimentary Christmas trees from our friends at Lowes of Waterford- and in some cases delivered the trees to their homes if they didn't have transportation.
FBI's newest crime statistics show our Part 1 crimes down almost 15%, as we look back at 2018 we were certainly were kept busy in other areas with the number of calls for police/fire services to prove it: 700 calls for domestic violence, responded to 1,050 fights, 165 missing persons, 119 weapons calls, 2,200 suspicious persons, 1,000 motor vehicle accidents, over 1,800 alarms - almost all of them false, 340 intoxicated persons, 600 crisis interventions and 97 drugs overdoses.
These calls include some of New London's most infamous tax exempt entities that pay nothing with continued high demand of call volume like: 625 calls to the 41 bed Homeless Hospitality Center, 602 calls to Engaging Heaven Church 66 Union Street (daily homeless breakfast), 600 calls to the Community Meal Center 12 Montauk Ave (daily homeless lunch/dinner) and 147 calls to Connecticut College calls which amounts to about 1,000 man hours for just these four entities. Anyone see a pattern here? All cater to our transient population and three of these institutions cater directly to our exploding homeless industry.
In early 2019 we will be hiring 2-3 new officers and adding a 4th K9 to the department. Plans call for a Labrador Retriever trained to detect narcotics. This retriever will bring the K9 Unit to 4 working dogs all purchased by the generous donations to our fundraising efforts in 2017 to restart the K9 program. Thank you to each and every donor who made this accomplishment happen.
Our police fleet is once again in trouble with too many cars being taken out of service, too old to fix with no new replacements in sight. Even the first batch of "new" SUV police vehicles are approaching 70,000 hard city miles of 24 hour a day use. To slow the increasing mileage we are driving our worn out Crown Victoria's which were suppose to be replaced by the SUV's. Just a few weeks ago our two new police recruits commuting daily to the Milford Police Academy in a 20-year-old department Ford Taurus found out first hand our frustration of this unreliable fleet when they were stuck on the side of I-95 with a blown transmission. Another car too old to fix and now gone thinning the fleet even more. Bottomline is we are driving cars that should have been replaced years ago to stop wear and tear on SUV's that should be replaced.
of our fleet is spending more time these days at the shop than on the
road, something needs to be done to change this. Perhaps this year the
finance director can work with the police chief on his idea of an ongoing
fleet upgrade/replacement plan. Doing nothing is no longer an option.
Arguably doing nothing to improve the fleet might even be even be considered
willful negligence, a word not popular with risk manager Paul Gills or
CIRMA. We hope for the best as we brace for the worst.
New Haven is budgeted for 495 positions. With poor pay, no contract and incredible work load demands current staffing is 400 with 28 of those recruits still in the training academy, another 25 on injury light duty or administrative duty which makes the number 350 less 70 command staff positions means fewer cops working harder making $25,000 less base pay than surrounding towns. In 2018 over 25 officers retired with another 53 eligible to retire by the end of December 2018 not including those that chose to resign for other agencies. Their proposed solution? Entice retired police officers to make a second career as NHPD officer. Good Luck with that! Retired cops on second careers want to work smarter not harder.
State Police face the same problems with even bigger numbers, 401 troopers out of 971 are eligible to retire by 2023.
at NLPD eleven of the 72 officers are eligible for retirement in 2019
not including another two facing medical disability retirements. Those
numbers include one Captain, two Lieutenants, five Sergeants, one Detective
and 3 Master Police Officers with a combined 328 years of police experience
representing 50% of the current supervisory staff. That number accelerates
even more in 2020.
Police work in general has become a journeyman's trade where the officer can make strategic movement to find the best employer balance of work load, salary, benefits and either upward or lateral mobility with an agency. Bottom line- it's in the employers best interest to find and then keep their best officers or face the consequences of expensive recruitment and revolving door retention.
The State Police, rank and file Troopers are breathing a little easier when they got an early Christmas gift in late October with the abrupt resignation of DPS Commissioner "Dora the Explorer" Schriro. Our state's former state’s top law enforcement official stepped away about two months before the Lamont administration takes over. True to form with former positions she held in New York and Arizona Schriro was again quietly shown the door just prior to November elections. Sources in Hartford report she was summoned to the Governor's office upon learning she was running a private consulting business out of CSP headquarters. Rather than publicly fire her so close to a tight gubernatorial election she was praised for her public service s they slammed the door on her. Frankly, looking back none of the prior civilian DPS commissioners except for former Hartford Police Chief Bernie Sullivan where effective as DPS Commissioners.
Governor-Elect Ned Lamont selected James Rovella as his pick as the next DPS Commissioner. Rovella a retired Hartford PD detective who then spent 12 years as an Inspector in the Chief State's Attorney's Office before skyrocketing to become Chief of HPD for 6 years before retiring again. While rank and file troopers remain stoic on the pick, some retired CSP members expressed their disappointment on yet another outsider (non state police) selection. We hope the new administration puts the right people in the right people in the right place that can bring back the luster CSP has lost over the last eight years. Early predictions are the current agency decline begun in the Malloy years will continue unabated under Lamont.
Congratulations to City Councilors Don Venditto and John Satti who were elected in December by their peers as City Council President and President Pro Tempore respectively. We wish them success and look forward to working with them on issues important to our members.
Further congratulations to Representative Chris Soto resigning his General Assembly House seat to become Director of Legislative Affairs for Governor Lamont. We hope Chris broadens his legislative interests beyond just education and minority caucus issues to include grant money benefiting New London economic development, jobs programs, infrastructure improvements and public safety. Soto's vacancy requires an upcoming special election to fill his seat.
London Democrats with much fanfare announced our own member Anthony Nolan
as their endorsed candidate and now presumptuous next seat holder for
39th District House seat. Should Nolan win we would ask the same of him-
to broaden his horizon in legislative interests to benefit all of New
London and SE Connecticut.
Thought Daryl Finizio might take a shot at the vacancy but maybe it's
not the right time for him with his preoccupation for a full socialist
candidate agenda in the upcoming Presidential elections less than 2 years
away. Republicans and Green Party have yet to announce challengers but
we encourage good candidates step up to make it a good race.
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.
724 gets recognized on the national level!