In MemoriamOur collective thoughts and prayers go out to the men of women of the Pennsylvania State Police, who tragically lost two Troopers early Monday morning. Troopers Martin F. Mack III and Branden T. Sisca were struck and killed, along with a pedestrian they were attempting to take into custody, on I-95 outside of Philadelphia by a speeding, drunk driver.
Funeral services for Pennsylvania State Trooper Martin F. Mack III:
A public viewing will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on March 30, 2022
Wade Funeral Home
1002 Radcliffe St.
Bristol, PA 19007
A funeral Mass will be held 11 a.m. on March 31, 2022
St. Michael the Archangel Church
66 Levittown Pkwy.
Levittown, PA 19054
Funeral services for Pennsylvania State Trooper Branden T. Sisca:
A public viewing will be held from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. and then 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on April 1, 2022
Boyd-Horrox-Givnish Funeral Home
200 W. Germantown Ave.
Norristown, PA 19401
A funeral will be held at 12 p.m. on April 2, 2022
Perkiomen Valley High School
509 Gravel Pike
Collegeville, PA 19426
Shame on You!
News from Troop K
NYSTPBA Issues Statement to the Media About Cortlandt Judge's Shocking Actions
After the recent shocking actions taken by Cortlandt Town Justice Kimberly Ragazzo in releasing a defendant on his recognizance after being charged with assaulting a Trooper, the NYSTPBA issued the press release below.
For Immediate Release – March 22, 2022
Troopers’ Union Speaks Out Against Cortlandt Town Justice’s Shocking Actions
The New York State Troopers Police Benevolent Association, the union representing uniformed New York State Troopers, is shocked by the nonchalance of Cortlandt Town Justice Kimberly Ragazzo in releasing a defendant - accused of assaulting a Trooper - on his recognizance simply because the young man claimed he had a college exam the next day.
“I am disgusted by the flippant attitude of Town of Cortlandt Justice Kimberly Ragazzo,” said NYSTPBA President Thomas H. Mungeer. “Despite the defendant’s displays of violence, including assaulting a Trooper, Justice Ragazzo chose to release him without even verifying his story.”
The 22-year-old man, Bryan P. Illescas, was arrested Sunday and charged with driving while intoxicated. While in custody at the State Police barracks in Cortlandt, Illescas became combative and damaged a wall. When the man’s mother came to pick him up, he suddenly punched a Trooper in the head and caused a significant laceration to the Trooper.
Additional charges of assaulting a police officer were brought upon Illescas, and he was then brought before Justice Ragazzo for arraignment. The district attorney recommended that Illescas be required to pay $15,000 cash bail or a $30,000 bond in order to be released, but Justice Ragazzo ignored that and instead released him on his recognizance because she did not want him to miss a college midterm exam in criminal justice the next day.
“You cannot make this stuff up! My Troopers risk their lives every day making the roadways and neighborhoods of this state safe. The last thing they need to encounter is a soft-on-crime judge who has more sympathy for a failed criminal justice major than she does for the citizens of her jurisdiction, Mungeer said.
“Shame on you, Justice Ragazzo!”
210th Session of the Basic School Graduation
Congratulations to the 227 new State Troopers who will soon be training in the field. You are desperately needed to bolster our manpower!
The Tale of Two Cities - Reform Bail Reform
As outlined in last week’s newsletter, Gov. Kathy Hochul’s 10-Point Plan to fix bail reform has many Democrats, mostly progressives, wringing their hands. However, Governor Hochul has been pragmatic about the subject of reforming bail reform – “The public is aware that I share their concerns about public safety, and that's why I am working with my team and working with the legislators to craft a position and a policy and work toward getting it in the budget,” she said earlier this week.
In One Corner
The contingent of anti-reform bail reformers has been vocal about their desire to not make any changes, with some of them rallying in the Capitol chanting “Hell No Cuomo 2.0.” Sen. Jabari Brisport (D-Brooklyn, and a member of the Democratic Socialists of America) stated, “Up until last week, I thought there was a difference between former Governor Cuomo and our current governor. I will not vote for any budget that has rollbacks [of bail reform].” Added Assemblywoman Latrice Walker (D-Brooklyn), “I love food [but] I am prepared to go on a hunger strike to make sure that this does not happen.” (Cue Gene Wilder in his best Willy Wonka tone – “Stop, don’t, come back…”)
This is a good time to segue to Sen. Liz Krueger’s (D-Manhattan) comments last Friday, “I do not believe that the Legislature thinks that the problems we are dealing with are related to the changes we made in bail reform. The data continues to reflect that the changes we made in bail are not correlated to the growth in gun violence or physical violence towards others on the streets.”
Nero [still] fiddles while Rome burns.
And in This Corner
State Sen. Minority Leader Rob Ortt (R-Lockport) said, “Pro-criminal Socialists are in control of Albany and New Yorkers have had enough. It’s time to restore public safety to our state.”
Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay (R-Syracuse) also said, “Every Republican in the Legislature wants changes. Gov. Hochul apparently wants changes. Eric Adams wants changes. And day by day more Democrats are finally realizing what we’ve been saying for two years – something needs to be done.”
The Budget is due in one week. Let’s see how much influence the moderate Democrats can assert.
In their announcement of the release of their one house budget bill, the Senate Majority requested that we offer a quote. Out of nearly three score quotes, they listed ours as fourth on their overall list and we were the only law enforcement group included. Definitely big news!
Thomas Mungeer, President, NYS Troopers PBA said "The NYS Troopers PBA would like to thank Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and the NYS Senate majority for including much needed funding for the State Police. The executive proposals regarding State Police personnel and Capital projects are important issues to the NYSTPBA and our members. We are extremely happy that an additional $40 million was added on top of the Governor's proposal in the Executive Budget to support additional community safety grant programs. If this funding is included in the final budget due at the end of this month, it indicates the legislative support for public safety in New York State."
I feel like when in Semi-Pro, Will Ferrell’s character of Jackie Moon exclaims at the end of the game, “Fourth place! Fourth place!”
This Week’s Sign that the Apocalypse is Upon Us
While responding to a report of shots fired, two officers were suddenly surprised when an armed subject stepped in front of their fully-marked St. Louis Metro Police Department vehicle and tried to carjack them. Realizing his blunder, this knucklehead fled the scene but was soon caught carrying a gun. Luckily for this aspiring criminal, he lives in St. Louis and the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office, led by progressive Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner, refused to file any charges against him. God Bless America!
I just recently became aware of SUNY Brockport inviting the killer of Waverly Jones and Joseph Piagentini to speak. I wanted to thank you, for once again, standing with law enforcement members in your well written letter opposing this lecture.
The President of the college will soon be receiving my diploma torn to pieces. I wish more alumni would think of this idea and we could do it together. I think it would be a strong symbolic act and might make future students think twice about attending this college. He wasn't a political prisoner, it's not an intellectual conversation. It's heartbreaking to families who know the pain of losing an officer and it fills me with disgust to call Brockport my alma mater for giving this killer a platform.
Thanks again, Tom. Your support of law enforcement members and their families is unwavering.
I hope all is well with you.
Colleen Dillon Bergman
For those of you who do not know Colleen, she is the daughter of Trooper Emerson J. Dillon Jr., who was shot and brutally murdered on Oct. 24, 1974 while conducting a traffic stop on the NYS Thruway. He left his wife and six children to grieve his death. Colleen and her family know what it means to see a brutal killer be released while they were left to suffer decades without their loved one. They watched their father’s murderer, John Ruzas, be convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison, where he remained, appearing before the parole board every few years. Colleen and her family, with the help of the NYSTPBA, valiantly made sure he remained there though numerous parole hearings as they and numerous Troopers and other law enforcement officers took the time to send letters to the Parole Board opposing the release of Ruzas. It wasn’t until Ruzas found a sympathetic ear in Supreme Court Judge Victor Grossman, who banned his next Parole Board commissioners from considering letters of opposition written by fellow Troopers as well as members of the law enforcement community nationwide, that Ruzas was finally freed in December 2017.
I think I speak for many in our profession as well as many citizens when I state that I’m growing very tired of judges attempting to legislate from the bench and their bush-league judicial decisions. I’m weary of the new-found propensity of the NYS Parole Board to release cop-killers back into our society. I am extremely sick and tired of hearing that how the families of NYPD Officers Joseph Piagentini and Waverly Jones must now endure the pain of the flippant attitude of SUNY Brockport officials who have decided it would be educational – under the guise of free speech - for the murderer of these two police officers to spout off how he was a “political prisoner” for nearly 50 years before his undeserved release in 2020. This is a slap in the face to all who risk their lives to serve and protect the public and their families. Simply put, it’s ignorant, insulting and inexcusable.
Colleen followed up yesterday with the following:
I see they have moved the Brockport event to online. It was quite unbelievable to read that in a letter from the interim provost to professors it was stated that the possibility of a large police presence could be a " traumatizing event". Lunacy is right.
I'm sure you realize I believe this killer should never have been released nor had the possibility of parole…….I just really felt remiss not saying life with no chance for parole would not even be justice for his heinous acts.
As a reminder, the numbers below will become effective on April 1, 2022 as per the current collective bargaining agreement. Note that due to our illustrious payroll lag system, Members can expect to see these increases in their April 27 paychecks.
Base Pay will increase by 2%
Hazardous Duty Pay will increase by 2% to $4,734
Expanded Duty Pay will increase by 2% to $9,235
Regular Location Pay - Orange, Putnam and Dutchess counties are now eligible for this payment at $1,754 annually
Supplemental Location Pay will go from the current three category structure to the following two categories:
· Orange, Putnam Dutchess at $1,332 annually
· NYC, Rockland, Westchester, Nassau and Suffolk at $2,330 annually
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