New York City’s police unions might be willing to eliminate a controversial policing tactic if the city’s mayor puts pay increases on the negotiating table.
Despite pledging to thwart any and all attempts by newly minted New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to eliminate the controversial policing practice known as stop-and-frisk, New York City’s police unions appear to have had a change of heart, or as one local report put it, “the officers unions’ see poor compensation as more valuable than their right to conduct stop-and-frisk.”
Leaders of two of the city’s police unions told Capital New York that they would consider eliminating the Stop-Question-and-Frisk program if de Blasio’s negotiators made concessions during the police unions’ contract negotiations, specifically those regarding pay.
“My feeling is that’s something for negotiations; that’s something that you bring to the bargaining table,” said Roy Richter, president of the Captains Endowment Association, a union that attempted to appeal a federal court’s ruling that the NYPD misused the stop-and-frisk practice.
The appeal, an effort undertaken by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, was dropped by the de Blasio administration, but the police unions attempted to keep it going. In February, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the case should be sent back to a lower court and encouraged the two sides to reach a settlement deal.
Although the police unions argued that any sort of reform to the stop-and-frisk practice could harm the NYPD’s reputation, the unions have also expressed concerns about the lack of contracts among public employee unions since 2012.
Ed Mullins, president of the Sergeants Benevolent Association, agreed with Richter that stop-and-frisk should be on the table, especially if it means that NYPD employees could be given retroactive pay increases.
“I’m open to discuss any topic related to bargaining, the safety of the city, methods of policing,” Mullins said. “At the end of the day, the goal should be, from both sides of the table, to achieve fair contracts and ultimately do what’s right, in the best interest of everyone. And that means for the taxpayer and the employee.
“If there are better ways to settle issues, whether it be stop-and-frisk or other labor issues and that can be done across the table instead of paying all these lawyers, I’m sure the city as well as myself would be willing to discuss those things.”
Whether the unions will drop their efforts to keep stop-and-frisk as a lawful policing practice remains to be seen, as it’s not known how much of a pay increase or retroactive payment de Blasio’s administration will be able to offer the unions.