Message from NYSTPBA President Tom Mungeer
Our collective thoughts and prayers go out to the family, friends and coworkers of Trooper Joshua E. Gushlaw, who tragically lost his life in a snowmobile accident this past Sunday in Dannemora.
Trooper Gushlaw had been a member of the State Police since March 28, 2016 and was assigned to SP Plattsburgh, Troop B. He is survived by his wife and two young sons.
Financial Support for Trooper Gushlaw’s Family
Since Trooper Gushlaw was not yet vested in the retirement system, his family is not eligible for any benefits because his death occurred off duty. The NYSTPBA’s Signal 30 Benefit Fund immediately provided the newly-enacted benefit of $20,000 to the family of any active Trooper who loses their life on-duty or off-duty.
However, the family still needs our help.
I am proud to report that other state police organizations in the northeast have pledged financial support for Trooper Gushlaw’s family. In addition, so far to date the Signal 30 Fund has received more than $3,000 in donations for the family and we will continue to accept donations on the family’s behalf. To donate to Trooper Gushlaw’s family through the Signal 30 Fund, visit the Signal 30 website https://signal30.org/online-donations/ and in the line for “Specific fundraising event or in memory of” please type in the words “Trooper Gushlaw’s Family.” In addition, you can write a check to the Signal 30 Benefit Fund and in the memo line write “Trooper Gushlaw’s Family” and mail it to: New York State Trooper PBA Signal 30 Benefit Fund, 48 Howard St., Albany, NY 12207.
Please also consider ordering a memorial bracelet through Trooper Gushlaw’s coworkers:
Presale order for “In Loving Memory of Joshua E. Gushlaw” Bracelets
Cost: $25.00 each
Donate: $5.00 of the $25.00 will be donated back to Trooper Gushlaw’s family
Presale Deadline: March 11, 2022
Payment: Venmo @awhitty or Paypal @amwhitty
If you are interested in purchasing a bracelet please respond via email to Trooper Whitty at ashley.whitty@Troopers.ny.gov with the following information:
PAYMENT METHOD/USERNAME (to confirm payment)
PICK UP AT SP PLATTSBURGH or SENT TO YOUR LOCATION
Once the presale is over the bracelets will be purchased and everyone will be notified when they come in. Extra bracelets will be purchased for those who missed the presale but please order during the presale if possible.
I was just recently informed that the following retired members who have passed while in service retirement from 9/11-related illnesses will now be officially designated by Division’s Honor Board as “Historical 9/11 Line-of-Duty Deaths.”
Zone Sergeant James G. Sweeney - Troop K Service Retired 2/27/2007
Trooper Scott P. Enser - Troop T Service Retired 10/6/2009
Trooper Joseph J. Mecca Jr. - Troop A Service Retired 12/15/2006
Trooper Michael R. O’Donnell - Troop G Service Retired 02/23/2005
New York State Police Officers Memorial Advisory Committee
I am honored to sit on the New York State Police Officers Memorial Advisory Committee. At our annual meeting yesterday, 48 police officers, including Troopers James Monda and Joseph Gallagher, were accepted for inclusion on the Memorial Wall. Of the 48, 11 deaths were COVID-related and 34 were a result of their service during 9/11.
NY State Police Officers Memorial Ceremony, Albany, N.Y. – Tuesday, May 10, 1 p.m.
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Candlelight Vigil Ceremony, Washington D.C. – Friday, May 13 at 8 p.m.
Signs the Pendulum is Swinging Back
We all know that the last two years have been tough for law enforcement. Virtually overnight, we went from being the heroes of the pandemic to being vilified. While it felt bleak at times, there are signs that public perception is changing toward our role as police officers, especially during the major uptick in crime. Take these examples:
According to a recent Siena Poll, “Nearly two-thirds of New Yorkers – including strong majorities of Republicans, independents and Democrats, upstaters and downstaters – support amending the 2019 bail reform law and giving judges more discretion to keep dangerous criminals off the street.”
Also, there is some interesting data that was leaked over the weekend from internal Democratic polling - 80% of swing voters agree with the statement that “Democrats in Congress support defunding the police and taking more cops off of the street.”
This November will be interesting…
More of the Same
Although there are signs of optimism, look no farther that our state’s capital to find a group of lawmakers stuck in the 2020 mindset.
The city of Albany’s public safety commission is looking at who should respond when someone calls 911, which includes whether and how to staff unarmed responders for certain calls.
Josiah Jones, President of the Albany Police Supervisors’ Association, summed up this proposal best -
I’m most concerned for citizens of Albany, that they might call for police and want police to respond to calls when they’re victims of a crime, and instead an unarmed, untrained, unexperienced, un-vetted individual might respond in our place.
Masks in Schools
According to a USA TODAY Network analysis of Johns Hopkins University data, New York ranked 47th among the states where coronavirus was spreading the fastest on a per-person basis.
I’m sure I was not the only parent who had to endure watching their high school kid running up and down a basketball court these last few months trying to breathe through a mask. It’s about time the mask mandate for our kids was lifted. Just saying…
I was honored to be asked to comment on the senseless and horrific murder of a SUNY Potsdam student recently. Although I was adamant that I was not involved in the investigation itself, the people at Fox still wanted to hear from the NYSTPBA. How far we have come this past decade.
Tom Mungeer, president of the New York State Troopers Police Benevolent Association, said Tuesday investigators were likely looking to create a timeline of Snow’s movements surrounding Friday’s alleged shooting.
Mungeer, who is not involved in the investigation, said troopers were likely keeping releasing as little information as needed "because they want to have an airtight case.
"This tragedy is a loss of innocent life," he said. "The second tragedy would be an error in the investigation that might let this guy walk.”
He added: "I know the investigators are checking all avenues … in the end, it’s somebody who’s operating within our society and ostensibly took an innocent life."
Please read the following press release from NAPO:
The National Association of Police Organizations (“NAPO”) condemns in the strongest possible terms the decision by Travis County, Texas District Attorney Jose Garza to seek the criminal indictment of nineteen Austin police officers for law enforcement actions the officers took during violent protests. The officers were forced to use lawful force to protect themselves and others after they came under criminal attack during May 2020 protests over the death of George Floyd. Almost two years later, D.A. Garza, who wasn’t even serving in office at the time of the incident, has decided to criminally prosecute the same officers who risked their own safety to restore peace in Austin. The George Soros-funded Garza is playing true to form. As a criminal defense attorney, he used his position and privilege to put criminals back on the streets. As elected D.A., he is now serving the same master by trying to remove officers from the streets. There is every indication that these officers will ultimately be cleared of wrongdoing, but in the meantime, the officers, their families, and the citizens of Austin who can least afford it, will pay the price of Garza’s ignorance and hubris.
Our thoughts are with these police officers during this ordeal. I was in Austin a few months ago and the crime and explosion of the homeless situation, especially in the once tourist-friendly areas, was truly eye opening.
Another Awesome Idea from our Elected Officials
As reported by Politico, Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Queens) wants Gov. Kathy Hochul to combat hate crimes by providing communities with walking buddies trained in martial arts.
Hey Dan “Cato” Sisto, sounds like a good retirement gig for you.
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