SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – TAP into South Plainfield had a question and answer session with South Plainfield PBA #100 President Peter Magnani about the recent New York City Police murders. Here are the unedited answers from PBA President and South Plainfield Police Officer Peter Magnani.
· What is the South Plainfield PBA # 100’s reaction to the New York City Police officers’ murders?
As soon as the news came in about Officers Liu and Ramos, there was an initial feeling of shock and sadness, but it was soon followed by an "I knew this was coming" kind of feeling and I think this mentality is shared nationwide by most police officers. That was soon followed by a Florida officer being gunned down and an attempt on another NYPD officer. Several more people across the county were taken in for questioning after threatening the lives of police officers on social media. The amount of hatred for police is higher than I ever remember. Our PBA has strived to interact with our community in ways other than on a car stop or responding to someone's home on one of their worst days. We sponsor fundraisers, help out at community events, raise money for scholarships, etc. We are very fortunate to work in a tight knit community and I think, overall, our community appreciates its police department. It feels very good when we are approached out of the blue and we hear "Thank you."
· Do you feel the Borough Administration provides adequate support to the police?
As PBA President for 6 years, I have had an opportunity to work closely with Mayor Anesh and the rest of the Council, along with Chief Parker and our Borough Administrator Glenn Cullen. The Borough Administration has shown nothing but support for our PBA and its police department. Our officers are lucky to be able to come work every day and have the tools necessary to do our job effectively, that includes newer vehicles, computers in all of our cars, vehicle dash cameras, AED's in every vehicle, radar units, up to date ballistic vests, training, additional schooling, etc. With the addition of 6 new police officers, we are starting to get back to the numbers we had 10 years ago. The administration and every police officer on our department are dedicated to keeping South Plainfield as safe as possible. This is our town too.
· What do you think about the police officers turning their backs on the New York City Mayor?
I have had an opportunity to speak to dozens of NYPD officers about the relationship with NYC Mayor De Blasio. They basically feel shunned by their mayor who has been very outspoken against the NYPD and its officers. I also know that many officers across this country feel the same way. Doing this job is hard enough without the media and your own mayor making comments and accusations that put a target on our backs. Many officers hold him partially responsible for the executions of his own police officers.
· Is the South Plainfield PBA #100 sending police officers or attending the New York City funerals?
Our PBA always tries to respect our fallen brothers and sisters by sending officers to represent our department. These officers have given the ultimate sacrifice and we all know it could just as easily been any of us. Chief Parker has always supported any officer that wishes to attend a funeral and will even assist with scheduling issues if there is a conflict. I received the funeral arrangements from NYPD last night and I am sure we will send any officer that wishes to attend. It hits home any time a brother or sister in blue is taken from us.
I would like to add a couple of my thoughts, thoughts I know are shared by countless thousands of police officers. I am not going to get into the Brown/Garner cases because that is an article in of itself, but people have to remember, whether they blame the police or not, those are isolated incidents. Police officers everywhere are sickened by the way the media has fueled and reinvigorated a race war. I am confident that the Ferguson riots would not have been half as bad if 100+ news cameras were not rolling 24/7. Every headline I have read about police over the past several months includes the racial makeup of the officer and person involved. It's fueling the fire and putting unnecessary targets on the backs of very good police officers.
As I said before, it's dangerous enough having to respond to domestics, gun calls, fights, etc without having to worry about being picked off while driving around simply because we chose a career to protect and serve. But the national media thrives on this. They are creating their own news by fueling this war and then covering the aftermath. Any PBA President or Delegate will tell you that our primary concern is keeping our members safe so they can return to their families at the end of their shift. That is becoming increasingly difficult with the events of the past few months. We need positive change.