Clarkstown PBA President to County: "Refrain from Blaming the Police"

John M. Hanchar—President, Clarkstown PBA—speaks out against the legislature's resolution in which blame was placed on police officers for "unlawful actions of some motorists"


Editor's Note: The following is a letter from John M. Hanchar—President, Clarkstown PBA to the Rockland County Legislature


Ladies and Gentleman of the Rockland County Legislature;

I am writing to express my displeasure at a portion of a resolution, announced in a press release published August 9th 2012, and voted on by all but one member of the legislature, regarding a by the County of Rockland against the Town of Clarkstown. The lawsuit is aimed to address the town's named "Samuel Drive" located in the hamlet of Nanuet.

Irrespective of the merits of the lawsuit, or your position on the town's legal ability to act in the manner they did, I find it disappointing that such a respected body as the Rockland County Legislature would seemingly blame the officers of the Clarkstown Police Department for the unlawful actions of some motorists.   

The officers of this department annually issue thousands of summonses, and twice as many warnings, to motorists in an attempt to increase safety on our roads.  This is done in addition to the officers regular duties that keep them busy, responding to over 50,000 calls for help per year.

In fact, the Clarkstown traffic court is among the busiest in the State of New York, and is the busiest town (non city) court in the Empire State.  According to Chief Michael Sullivan, the dept has responded to the resident's complaints with directed traffic patrols, selective enforcement, decoy police vehicles, solar powered speed indicator signs as well as conducting traffic count studies.

Speeding on Newport drive occurs despite a heavy police presence, rather than because of a lack of presence. The Clarkstown PBA has taken no stand on the issue of the road closure, other than to say that we do not feel that the closure significantly impacts emergency operations in the town.  We ask that in future discussions and publications, you refrain from blaming the police for the actions of some motorists, or implying that the reason for the town's action is some inaction on the part of our officers.  

Thank you for your attention.
John M. Hanchar—President, Clarkstown PBA


Editor's Note: Here's a look back at Patch articles about the Samuel Road Closure:

Pat August 25, 2012 at 01:21 AM
50,000 calls per year? In your dreams. That breaks down to 46 jobs per 8 hour tour everyday of the year. Not a chance pal unless you are counting every time someone asks where the restroom is while you are walking through the courthouse or if you have the correct time as a "call for help". Sometimes it is better to say nothing.
Watchdog August 25, 2012 at 02:35 AM
Interesting, last week Chief Sullivan said there was not a speeding problem only a problem with the volume of cars. Hanchar says there is a speeding problem and the cops cannot control the speeding problem. Confusing. With 81 official days written into their contract, Clarkstown cops officially work 179 days a year, less than half a year. Collectively they work less than 6 months a year and are off the job for 6 months. In addition, because of the huge double digit multi year salary increases negotiated by Gromack and the Town Board sitting behind Hanchar we have fewer cops than we had several years ago. When you connect these two events, 81 days off and fewer cops, it is no wonder that the cops cannot carry out their mandate for safer streets by controlling speeders, a fact to which uncannily they readily admit. As the cost for police continues to increase, it has now reached $200,000 per cop, the situation will only get worse.
Jack Moolick August 25, 2012 at 05:46 PM
Taxpayers deserve better. I understand this all started because residents were complaining about speeding and excess traffic flow so the street was closed? Now it has escalated to grandstanding in front of the Police Station with lawsuits in the works? One thing for certain, taxpayers will foot the bill. I think with very few exceptions we need to sweep the County and Town clean and let some Young blood have a shot at running our Government. These career politicians are doing a lousy job.
Will McAvoy August 27, 2012 at 12:59 AM
CPD does a great job protecting the people of this town and deserve more respect. Who cares how many days they work a year because they do their jobs to the best of their ability.
Watchdog August 27, 2012 at 03:28 AM
Seniors care because they Cannot afford them anymore.
Michael N. Hull August 27, 2012 at 10:58 AM
Jack: Sweeping them out is hard because who you get to vote for is manipulated by those in the back rooms.  Read this http://www.rocklandtimes.com/2012/08/09/house-of-horrors/ and this  http://newcity.patch.com/blog_posts/puppet-on-a-string
LesDoIt August 27, 2012 at 02:48 PM
95 percent of the speeding on local roads is done by local residence themselves. Put a note on your car dashboard "i don't like it when people speed on my street so I won't speed on theirs". Police can't be around enough to force people to be decent to their neighbor, that was your parents job.
VinnyfromCongers August 27, 2012 at 04:12 PM
They don't get 81 days off, but don't let the facts get in the way. Just give Frank Sparaco and Joel Epstein a ticket book and let them handle it.
Watchdog August 27, 2012 at 07:33 PM
OK Vinny this is the list...feel freetocorrect it...I am open to receiving your information.  30 vacation...some get 35 24 sick 8 bereavement 12holidays 7 personal Where is it wrong?
Watchdog August 27, 2012 at 08:22 PM
If you are the father of the Town Attorney, Amy Wagner Mele and you Want to shut down a street, the street is shut down and after all, Gromack says its legal. Isn't that all that counts?
INTHEKNOW August 28, 2012 at 05:17 AM
Actually, the annual report of the police dept, *(you can google it) says that the CPD responded to 60,136 calls in 2011. They also gave out of 10,000 tickets.
Tom Truth August 28, 2012 at 07:23 AM
Watchdog, as pointed out in many other stories, your constant bashing of the CPD is growing tiresome, not to mention your fascination with the "81" days off. Do the cops get generous time off - the answer is yes. But stop with the 81 days in every other post. And just to satisfy your where is it wrong question, many get 30 vacation days, and some get 35. Those under 1st grade (newer officers) get either 15 or 20, so you are somewhat misleading there. Officers get up to 24 sick days a year, but the average sick time use is much lower. There are quite a few officers who haven't taken a sick day in years - a few who have never taken a sick day over 20+ years. The same with bereavement - they are entitled to 3 days for certain relatives, and 5 for immediate family members. The vast majority will go years without ever using a bereavement day (thank goodness). No one really is looking for relatives to die to use these days - as you are quick to point out they get enough other time off. They get 12 holiday days in lieu of major holidays off. And they do get 7 personal days. So yes, they do get fairly generous time off, but they rarely have your target "81" days off.
Tom Truth August 28, 2012 at 07:24 AM
Most police departments throughout this country have more time off than the average 9-5 job, and while you would love to get rid of these "overpaid useless civil servants" I and many others are grateful to have them. We have a well-trained, educated department that despite what you think works hard at keeping our community safe. Many came from NYPD and various other departments, have skills and tools far beyond what you think, and if you really want to look for corruption and abuse of public funds there are many more culpable segments of government and society to blame than CPD.
Watchdog August 28, 2012 at 01:06 PM
Please delete this post.no one, except you ever said the cops were "useless overpaid public servants". The skills you say they have are not worth $200,000 per cop since 85% of their work is related to traffic offences. There is no reason Clarkstown should have the highest paid police force in the Country absolutely no reason why our Police Chief should make more than the UNITED STATES Secretary of Defense and Ray Kelly, Police Commissioner of NYC. I don't care how talented he is. We cannot afford it. The outrageous pay and benefits have direct effect on public safety because despite a population increase, Clarkstown and Orangetown now have at fewer cops than we had a few years ago due to the outrageous salaries and benefits. In fact Gromack says we should take on BOARDERS, if we cannot afford the cops. Nice, isn't it to have cops who are paid outrageously more on average than the people who pay their salaries, the taxpayers. Stop whining and take a pay cut so the seniors on fixed incomes do not have to give their annual meager COLA increases to pay for increases in taxes due to cops large pensions.
Watchdog August 28, 2012 at 01:11 PM
If you don't want anyone to know that the cops get 81 days off, effectively working less than one half the year compromising public safety then take some of those sick, personal and bereavement days out of your contract and have some consideration for seniors and others who pay your salaries. We cannot afford you.
Bill Smith August 28, 2012 at 02:25 PM
Watchdog, I don't think it is fair to complain about the holidays the police are given. In Most other non police jobs the employees are automatically off from work on holidays like labor day, thanksgiving, Christmas, July 4th, Easter ect ect, but police officers are still working. I think it is only fair to give these officers the days off when they chose to use them due to the fact they worked the holiday while you were home unwrapping presents and spending time with your family.
Watchdog August 28, 2012 at 02:55 PM
The cops have more time off with their family than any other working person in the Town who pays their Outrageous salary. Just because you are a cop it does not mean you automatically work on Chrustmas and just because you are not a cop it does not automatically mean you are off on Christmas. If these kobs were really open to the public, there Woud be thousands of qualified people willing to do them at half the salary and they would be glad to work on Christmas if their turn came up.
Watchdog August 28, 2012 at 02:57 PM
DO they need 24 sick days? Are they that unhealthy?
Pat August 28, 2012 at 03:35 PM
Mr. Truth, Are the police compensated for unused sick days when they retire?
Watchdog August 28, 2012 at 09:09 PM
Pat, if you askTom Truth any questions you will be accused of being a "police basher" or calling cops "overpaid useless public servants" !!!
Clarkstown life August 29, 2012 at 07:26 PM
..."if these jobs were really open to the public"????? there is a TEST in november...one test every four years OPEN to the public.....tell your great grand kids to take the test dog....highly competitive from what i hear, so tell them to study
Tom Truth August 30, 2012 at 03:12 AM
There's only one person "whining" on here, and it's the same whine over and over. If someone tries to rationally explain something that is not whining. You denigrate anyone who dares to have a view that is not the same as yours. To answer Pat, yes, they do get to cash in unused sick days (up to a certain point). Some other departments, including NYPD, have unlimited sick policies, but have certain safeguards in place to try to avoid abuse of that policy.


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