Many officers plan on leaving sooner rather than waiting.
A few weeks ago, we reported that Ithaca, New York Mayor Svante Myrick was contemplating replacing the police with ‘community solution workers.’
Myrick discussed this with GQ Magazine before he ever even mentioned the idea to the Ithaca Police. The police are not happy. Some of them are already seeking work elsewhere.
John Yoon reports at the Cornell Daily Sun:
Ithaca Police Officers Grapple With Department Overhaul
Mayor Svante Myrick ’09 announced on Feb. 22 a proposal to end the current version of the Ithaca Police Department and to reimagine public safety — but the IPD said it had not been adequately informed before its release.
During last week’s Common Council Committee of the Whole and Reimagining Public Safety Collaborative meetings, Myrick apologized to the IPD for speaking to the magazine GQ before the IPD and to the members of the Common Council. IPD officers said they found out about the details of the proposal through the GQ article rather than from Myrick himself.
“I want to reiterate my sincere apology for both speaking to the reporter [from GQ] before speaking to the Police Union about this recommendation and realizing … the timing, the tone was inappropriate,” Myrick said in the Reimagining Public Safety meeting on Thursday.
Myrick claims that Ithaca Police Chief Dennis Nayor was part of the ongoing conversation, but Nayor claims he never saw a final proposal. He also says that Ithaca police are tired of being made into targets.
Nayor, speaking on behalf of the department, said the IPD feels police officers have become the catch-all for most of Ithaca’s problems. Although Nayor said he agrees with Myrick that the department must focus on mental health, addiction and homelessness, the proposal is too “extreme” in his eyes…
The police chief added that the officers he spoke to feel devalued and dejected because they first learned about this sweeping change from GQ rather than the city. Nayor said some officers actively began to look for other places to work, some of the neighboring counties that are eager to recruit officers from the IPD.
Thomas Condzella, who leads Ithaca’s Police Benevolent Association, says crime is on the rise in Ithaca and that Myrick is playing with fire.
The Olean Times Herald reports:
“Key stakeholders have been left out,” said Thomas Condzella, the leader of the Ithaca’s Police Benevolent Association. “Those stakeholders are the police. We are experienced professionals.”
The mayor gave an interview to GQ that announced the proposal, which blindsided some police department members, according to Condzella. The mayor later apologized for that, according to 14580.com.
Conzella said the mayor is taking a gamble on the safety of the police and the community they serve. He suggested the mayor is deliberately hamstringing the police department to help his case that the department needs to be replaced.
“Violent crime in the city of Ithaca is steadily rising. However, our ability to address it is decreasing by the day, almost as if by design, to further this proposal,” he said.
A recent letter to the editor at The Ithaca Voice echoed that sentiment:
Letter to the Editor: “The Mayor’s proposal to abolish the Ithaca Police Department and create a new agency is both misguided and dangerous”
As a retired Ithaca City Police Chief, former Cayuga Heights Police Chief, and retired Deputy Assistant Director of the FBI in Washington, DC, I am very concerned that this proposal is not a common-sense effort to improve law enforcement in the City of Ithaca. It simply caters to some local activists who hate the police and are intent on destroying a good and well-functioning police department.
My long law enforcement experience with our local law enforcement officers has been very positive and shown daily professionalism with only a rare occasion of a misstep.
A recent increase in acts of violence such as shootings and stabbings in the city should make everyone in the city and county happy that they have a well-functioning police department. It would be extremely dangerous to disrupt this by a social experiment such as proposed…
Some of the local protesters have been shouting very nasty and disturbing language in the face of our officers while the officers have shown great restraint to ignore these nasty and vulgar utterings. I doubt many of our citizens would be able to withstand such terrible actions without losing their temper and that is why our officers should be commended for their restraint.
Here’s what I would like to know. Why is anyone discussing the defunding or abolishment of police when our leaders in Washington are surrounded by fences topped with razor wire and men armed with guns?DONATE
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