BET cuts would hurt GPD’s ability to serve and protect

FI-Letter-to-the-EditorTo the Editor

Recently, the BET Budget Committee recommended that 10 officers be removed from the Police Department’s Table of Organization and $600k be removed from the police department’s operating budget and placed into a fixed account.

These decisions were made without discussion with the Chief of Police. In fact, Chief Heavey and Capt. Mark Kordick, with more than 50 years combined public safety experience, wanted to report this last minute move by the committee was not only dangerous to the public, but to the officers themselves. But they were never given a chance and the Budget Committee went so far as to say they didn’t want to hear it.

The real facts are that the department is spread so thin now that we have a hard time filling patrol sector posts. If you walk through our building you’ll see empty desks once filled by detectives and Special Victims Unit officers and Neighborhood Resource Officers. Many positions are left unfilled because of the current manpower shortage.

How will the removal of $600k affect the citizens of Greenwich? The following positions will be considered for the chopping block: Four Greenwich Avenue Traffic Officers, three Community Impact Officers, the School Resource Officer and up to seven officers in the Marine Division, which would mandate a change in the hours that the Island Beach boats operate if they operate at all.

State mandated police training requirements continue to rise every year, which equates to taking officers away from their assigned positions for more hours every year. We can’t stop patrolling Cos Cob or Glenville because officers are at mandated training. We must provide patrol coverage for the citizens of our community because that’s what’s expected of us.

Our officers regularly save lives through prompt response and emergency medical training. At every car accident, fall, drowning, electrocution, heart attack, stroke, domestic dispute, burglary and every call for help, the police are the first ones on the scene.

Our officers work hard to make Greenwich as safe as possible. This doesn’t happen without adequate funding, adequate personnel and the sound judgment and decisions by trained and experienced public safety experts.

 

Lt. James Bonney, GPD
Greenwich

 

The author is president of the Silver Shield Association and a member of the Representative Town Meeting.

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