Local 724 Political News
Political Director Chuck Flynn
Thank you to residents John Russell, Kat Goulart, Kathleen Mitchell, Reid Burdick and Allison Reichard for their grass root efforts obtaining voter signatures challenging the recent actions of our most progressive City Council ever when they repealed an ordinance on the police department’s manpower staffing. These die hard Whalers have passion and energy that are unparalleled; we respect your spirit and volunteerism immensely. We are grateful to have you as fiends.
We also want to express our sincere gratitude to the silent majority voters who sided with public safety and their police department by signing a petition to force city councilors to rescind their repeal vote or put the issue to a special election or November referendum and let voters decide.
Our local anti police crowd has been quite busy calling for reducing our police staffing to redirect money for their dreams of a socialist utopia. Their most recent tactic is challenging the number of police officers we have by direct correlation to population size by comparing New London to Cheshire, Newtown and Westport, all with fewer officers. Their conclusion is New London is overstaffed and over policed demanding a downsizing.
Councilors claim they want discussions and hard data after dismissing the 2007 OSS report as outdated and describing the 80 man number as just an arbitrary number. Instead they appear comfortable relying only on anecdotal stories and repeating talking points by a small group of vocal activists as if they represent the majority position of the New London community. Councilors despite their rhetoric have not had sought any input from with police union leaders or requested a new study by recognized law enforcement experts for contemporary hard data, which suggests they have no interest in hard facts since it contradicts their political positions.
Relevant facts unequivocally prove NLPD is busy with call volume and severity. In 2020 New London answered 17,682 9-1-1 calls while the other comparison towns averaged 7,738. FBI statistics reveal New London property crimes are almost four times higher than other town’s average. Our violent crimes are 3.02 per 1,000 residents, other town’s average 0.27 per 1,000. Chance of becoming a violent crime victim here, one in 332, the others averaged one in 4,667.
Last year’s stats show NLPD responded to over 1800 alarm activations, conducted 4500 investigations, handled 820 motor vehicle accidents, 800 domestic violence calls, 147 weapons calls, and 199 overdoses not to mention 500 calls exclusively to the Homeless Hospitality Center.
Just these few statistics prove there is a timeless need for guardians to protect the innocent. Activists are comparing apples to oranges to justify their defunding/dismantling demands. This is a dangerous concept that will further hurt the very population it claims it will help.
It appears councilors have consequences be damned position determined to cut police staffing or funding motivated only by their desire to win headlines and the approval of New London’s socialist left by ignoring data refusing to order a new study.
Reckless cuts to staffing will be felt for years in the form of depleted patrol officer ranks; further distancing police officers from the communities they serve. Believing reduced staffing will not affect police services is dangerous and foolish. The calls for police service will not diminish just the number of cops able to respond.
We suggest councilors make their decisions based on facts, not feelings by requesting a new agency review with recognized law enforcement experts. Once real manpower numbers are known then decide to either reduce services, continue current services or improve upon those services.
On March 11th President Biden signed his American Rescue Plan a sweeping $1.9 trillion economic relief package into law bringing an estimated $4 billion to Connecticut.
New London for its part seemingly just won the lottery, a once in a life time payday with its federal share of $40 million dollars. Broken down it amounts to almost $22 million for Education and over $18 million for “Non Education”. There is one caveat; monies can’t be used to lower taxes.
This mega millions winnings is an unprecedented opportunity to turn the city around. New London would be wise to carefully consider in how it spends this money. Perhaps infrastructure improvements to roads, city buildings and parks, improved city services with additional staffing and modern equipment, upgrade city IT department from third world 1990’s technology to the new century, fully fund rainy day account or pay down some debt service to improve bond ratings.
This being New London where progress is measured by steps backward, we hope and pray it isn’t spent frivolously like a drunken sailor on shore leave. This moment reminds us of a Barack Obama quote about his old friend Joe Biden, “Don’t underestimate [New London’s] ability to F**k things up”.
We have spoke often about police department staffing, especially in the last 10 years having lost so many young officers to other agencies. Net result has left us very top heavy in terms of seniority. NLPD’s ten most senior officers alone have a combined 312 years of police experience. In the not too distant future they will be gone leaving a vacuum of experience with many vacancies to fill.
Speaking of senior officers, we extend best wishes to Master Patrol Officer Roger Baker who retired on March 27th after 32 years of loyal and faithful service to the City of New London.
Roger was originally from the Buffalo New York area; upon graduating from college he followed a recruitment advertisement seeking New London police officers. He was a very active and visible marine patrol officer of our now defunct Marine Unit. Also provided a prominent police presence downtown as a police mountain bike patrol officer before that unit was also eliminated. Then assigned a cruiser or walking beat on downtown post assignments until low staffing canceled those positions too.
Roger had a quick wit and dry sense of humor which made him a perfect fit as our senior web page master. More importantly his meticulous record and clean audits as Union Treasurer won him uncontested election victories for over 20 years. He was sometimes called Radar O’Reilly for his instant institutional knowledge and unique union filing system allowing only him to find long forgotten records in minutes.
Every time the bat signal flashed for help on any issue from political rallies, sick or injured members, maintaining our union business records to ensuring flowers were sent in times of difficulty for our members, Roger was there. He has been an integral part of our agency and local police union.
Roger you chose a noble and risky profession and left your family many days to protect ours. You’ve touched and have impacted countless lives in our community. Thanks for people like you who are willing to keep putting the uniform on until retirement and all that you’ve done over your long and productive career.
Congratulations Roger you made it to the finish line, goodbye tension, hello pension!
Please enjoy your new-found time with family and friends, we wish you much success in all your new adventures as CEO of Retirement.
The views expressed by the author may not necessarily reflect the views of all Local 724 members.