Unions Taking a Wrong Turn
We are pro-union at this website but it doesn’t mean that we don’t see problems that can occur with unions. There is a troubling trend in what appears to be some police unions pushing for harsher treatment of civilians and lighter penalties for officer misconduct. In general, a police officer’s job is to enforce laws, prevent crimes, and maintain public order and safety. Police offers do not make the laws. The legislature does that. They do not determine the amount of time a person spends in jail. The judicial system handles that.
Yet in places like New York, problems are occurring because officers, with the full support of their union or maybe with instigation from their union, are trying to make the determination of what happens to people and what laws and policies the officers are going to ignore. The article we posted yesterday showing NYPD officers using excessive force for something that the city said would no longer even be a ticketing offense, is a perfect example of NYPD officers ignoring the city policies.
Police Trying to Run City Government
But that’s not the only way to subvert policies and laws. New York attempted to reform their bail system. The police officers got mad about it. They wanted people to stay in jail. Why did they want them in jail when every single study shows that jail for low-level non-violent crimes is detrimental and costs the city money? Because that’s where they feel people belong. They don’t really believe in rehabilitation, much less innocent until proven guilty. But remember, this is not their area. Since they had no say in the decision they attempted to undermine the whole process. Per the Gothamist.com article,
“Defense attorneys, meanwhile, say the reported increase in street crimes doesn’t hold up to statistical scrutiny. In a joint statement, the city’s public defender services noted that, even as grand theft auto complaints have skyrocketed more than 60 percent, their collective caseloads with that charge have actually decreased 9 percent.”
And a joint statement from a group of agencies that deal with defender services said,
“It’s clear proof that the NYPD has been up-charging, and that when these cases make it to a district attorney, prosecutors reject the charges that the NYPD are touting because they know they cannot stand up to even the most cursory legal scrutiny.”
What this is saying is that the officers are writing down the charges as much higher than they should be. For example, a person steals a $1.99 Coke and the officer arrests him but writes the charge as Theft $50 – $500. He knows that the charge does not fit the crime but by giving a higher charge, it gets listed in the statistics as a Theft $50 – $500. That’s up-charging. And to achieve a 60% increase as stated above, means that this was not one or two officers doing this. It was a concerted, planned effort by a large group. Don’t forget these charges are against real people. It’s not just a piece of paper.
Once the plan to undermine the bail reform began to build statistical data the union was able to point to that saying look, they started letting people out on bond and right away serious crimes shot up. And it will look like that’s what happened. Even Mayor DeBlassio fell for it. You would think he would be a little more hesitant since he knows the union is acting almost like a criminal organization even to the point of putting out a tweet that said, “Mayor DeBlasio, the members of the NYPD are declaring war on you.”
That’s New York. It Can’t Happen Here
It’s easy to look at New York and come up with some silly excuse like, it’s a liberal city, and think that would never happen here. Let me remind you that when Bexar County started a program that stopped the criminalization of homelessness, Mike Helle, president of the San Antonio Police Officers Association, pushed back. Per the News4SanAntonio.com article,
“We thought it was a joke at first,” said Mike Helle, president of the San Antonio Police Officers Association. “There’s no way that San Antonio would start decriminalizing crimes like criminal trespass. Because two people died in a jail is not a reason to be overreacting.”
The dismissive attitude toward the death of two people is disgraceful. The jail is not alternate housing for homeless or mentally ill people. That it’s being treated as if it is, is part of the problem at the jail. Helle states that the officers were mad about it. Their attitude of people must be punished rather than helping people, is no different from that of the New York police officers union. I didn’t find an official statement from the San Antonio Police Department though I would imagine there is one somewhere.
In addition, I was disappointed to see the San Antonio Fire Department use their union to try to sway an election on propositions so they could benefit monetarily. I support unions so that they can protect their members. Not so they can use their collective power to try to shaft taxpayers. But I do have to give a shout out to the Deputy Sheriffs Association of Bexar County (DSABC). To the best of my knowledge, they have not tried to abuse their power. They have stayed true to their purpose. Their only political foray is in elections for sheriff, which I feel they have every right to do though I feel that is an action best used sparingly.
What this all comes down to is that the citizens of municipalities have to stay aware of what is happening. When they see unions beginning to act like small dictatorships, they need to step in to put a stop to it. The people are the ones with the power. We must never forget it.