Friday, 25 February 2011 00:00
We are greatly dismayed at the attack that our police chief and other members of the Glen Cove Police Department were subjected to in the recent Letter to the Editor entitled “Privileged Council.” Police Chief William Whitton and the members of the Glen Cove Police Department are public servants whose sworn duty is to protect the security and property of Glen Cove residents at great risk to themselves. They are an integral part of, and essential to, our community as first responders and in providing a safe environment in which our children can grow and thrive. They are the driving force behind the excellence of the Police Department’s programs to educate schoolchildren against drug use and their participation in Glen Cove’s National Night Out Against Crime. They are doing great work for our community and they should be applauded.
The Letter to the Editor implies that the police chief and the police officers are grossly overpaid and enjoy benefits to which they are not entitled, such as 26 paid sick days per year, which are banked if unused. It’s our understanding that under the recent labor agreement, a Suffolk County police officer gets 15 days paid vacation during the first year of service, increasing to 27 days after five years of service, 13 sick days during the first year of service, increasing to 26 days after the first three years of service (unused sick days are cumulative), and 3 paid personal days during the first year of service, increasing to 5 days after three years. Suffolk County police officers also have a non-contributory pension plan and are eligible for retirement after 20 years of service at 50 percent of average salary during the last three years of service. It’s also our understanding that Nassau County police officers get 18-27 sick days annually, depending on years of employment, and have a 20-year non-contributory retirement plan with a 50 percent retirement benefit. If we compare the benefits our Police Department receives to other departments, rather than making irrelevant comparisons to U.S. Senators and the like, it’s clear that our Police Department’s benefits are proper (and well-deserved).
We realize that many municipalities and states are grappling with unbalanced budgets. While we understand the difficulties that these times cause, we should try to fix our fiscal woes without undercutting collectively bargained rights and certainly without undermining the morale of our fine police department by holding its members out as undeserving recipients of public largesse. There is no reason to create an atmosphere of negativity about our outstanding Glen Cove Police Department. We should be proud that we take care of those who dedicate their lives to taking care of us.
Paul Sweeney and Ann Buckley