NEWBURGH – The Newburgh City Council and administration have been mulling over the city manager’s proposed 2020 budget which initially called for some two dozen layoffs in the police and fire departments.
Several council members have repeatedly stated at public sessions that they oppose cutbacks, but the final document to be voted up tonight is expected to include several.
The city’s two unions, the PBA and Superior Officers Association, have issued a joint statement in which they say any layoffs of police officers have a devastating effect on the city, noted Sergeant Joseph Ratigliano, a spokesman for the unions.
For one thing, he said any layoffs, particularly the 19 most recently on the table, would dramatically impact response time. “Imagine calling the police and waiting an hour or more. It is going to increase crime and related criminal activity,” he said, “In addition, you have new justice and bail reform laws that are going to take effect on January first and criminals will be released; violent offenders will be back out on the streets immediately after then are arrested for a crime, so the city should be considering adding to its police force, not reducing it.”
Ratigliano said mass layoffs of cops will destroy the city’s partnership efforts and scare away any potential investors. He said by the city laying police officers, it will be declaring itself a sanctuary city for criminals.