Ray Andolina, President of the Police Association of New Rochelle, NY issued a prepared press statement tonight as various elected officials and dignitaries arrived for the City of New Rochelle State of the City Address delivered by Mayor Noam Bramson.
Andolina was joined by dozens of off-duty police officers outide of the Davenport Club who held up signs reading "High Expectation + Low Pay = Badge Drain" and "Police Shortages Equals Unsafe Streets".
The statement reads as follows.
The Police Association of New Rochelle is here today to attentively listen to Mayor Bramson discuss the state of the City of New Rochelle. We are also here to express our growing concern over manpower issues and continued cuts to the New Rochelle Police Department budget. The citizens of New Rochelle and the County of Westchester must understand that the continued cuts to police personnel put all involved at great substantial risk.
For the last three years the Police Department has endured enormous cuts to the number of police officers, to the point where there are now only 151 filled positions. To put this in perspective, we were staffed with as many as 189 sworn officers as recently as 2010, a very noticeable 20% reduction.
Combine those stats with New Rochelle's population increase (2010 census) it is obvious that we have been doing more with less. Unfortunately, the risks to our membership and the public have become increasingly unreasonable and must be addressed immediately.
These safety issues, along with the fact that our members are working without a contract for an unprecedented fourth year has negatively affected moral and has caused significant "badge drain" which further exacerbates these problems.
As the elected "leader" of this city, it is the opinion of our association that the Mayor has now gone too far in supporting these cuts. Subsequently, we feel we have a responsibility to let the citizens of New Rochelle and Westchester County know about this apparent disregard to the safety of our members and to the safety of the citizens ofNew Rochelle.
We are asking, once again, that Mayor Bramson show some leadership by correcting the important issues brought forth before he moves on with his aspiration to become Westchester County Executive.
Afterwards, the Mayor delivered the State of the City address to an attentive audience.
Photos by Jen Parente