PBA to cops: Don't rush
In challenging policy to balance precinct staffing, union chief urges cops to wait for backup in emergencies
BY SID CASSESE
Newsday Staff Writer
October 6, 2006
A dispute has escalated between Nassau County and its biggest police union over a redeployment of officers - with the union's president even urging members not to rush to certain emergencies without backup.
The clash stems from a police department order last month requiring for the first time that if one precinct is above minimum staffing levels and another is below them, officers be reassigned to make up the shortfall. It would save overtime costs, officials have said.
In an e-mail to members, Gary DelaRaba, president of the Nassau Police Benevolent Association, warns that forcing police to patrol areas with which they are unfamiliar would be dangerous and counterproductive. So he urges that in situations where two officers are required the officer join up with a partner before rushing to the scene. The e-mail said:
"I know this goes against everything you were trained to do but if you get a gun call, a baby stop[ped] breathing, violent mental aided [or] any call that requires two officers, meet [the veteran precinct officer] at a specific location then proceed as quickly as possible to the call.
"YOU ARE NOT PAID TO TAKE FOOLISH CHANCES WITH YOUR LIFE! Your number one job is to make it home after each tour of duty."
Police Commissioner James Lawrence condemned the union leader's missive as "despicable."
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