Police officers who are employed by the village and town police departments of the East End are some of the most highly trained in New York State, if not the country.
Police unions have worked very hard to secure the proper compensation and benefits to ensure that every police officer is cared for during and after their career. These negotiations also reflect the professional service these officers give to each of the communities they serve.
To help reduce costs, police unions already have agreed to allow non-union, part-time officers to work during peak summer months to offset the increased population and calls for service. In this respect, part-time police officers are an asset to the already full-time work force.
In response to Steve Levy’s statement that using retired police officers would save a municipality the cost of retirement and health benefits [“Former Suffolk County Executive Suggests Villages Replace Full-Time Police Force With Part-Time Retired Officers To Save Taxpayers Money,” 27east.com, March 17], that may be true, but the reality of a full department made up of part-time retired officers, making $20 an hour, putting themselves at risk to protect the public, administer first aid, or step into a domestic dispute seems unlikely.
Village and town police officers work around the clock to keep the communities they serve safe — every day and night, weekend and holiday. During Superstorm Sandy, while many of their own families struggled, officers were helping others. Even currently, while the world is self-isolating, police officers are out at work.
Village and town departments would not function proficiently with a few retired part-time police officers, with an average age beginning at 50 years old, being the only source of police service.
Steve Levy’s comments are inaccurate, insulting and a slap in the face to everyone in law enforcement.
Regarding Mr. Levy’s issue with arbitration: It is a tool used by both sides, and only as a last resort. Many elected officials use arbitration as something to hide behind when they don’t want to do their job of fair negotiating. Further, arbitrators are picked by both sides, so if an arbitrator is notorious for “giving the store away,” you have the choice to not pick him. It’s that simple.
Let’s remember, Steve Levy is a disgraced former elected official who, during his tenure, cherry-picked the best benefits from hardworking unions for himself, without a single second of negotiations. It was stated in the media that a Suffolk County grand jury found Mr. Levy to have violated the integrity of an ethics commission. His relative received county bids for title work and, to avoid further prosecution, Mr. Levy agreed to leave politics and turned over $4 million in suspect donations.
I’m not sure Mr. Levy is the right person to tell municipalities what to do and how to spend their money.
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