John Young, Patrolman
Despite fines leveled against the cops (two days pay for every day they failed to take their post), Ed Kiernan was re-elected president of the PBA for a third term in June 1971. Contract talks were turned into a political football by City Hall, Albany, the news media, and the business community. In fact, everyone who had a civil or political axe to grind climbed on the bandwagon. City Hall used the police negotiations to prepare the public for higher taxes. Adverse publicity made pension improvements almost impossible.
Ed Kiernan received a clear mandate from the 30,000 members. One must remember that detectives were PBA members back then. Kiernan rang up 11,173 votes compared to 7,540 recorded for Jim Kerrigan (41st Pct) and 2,476 received by Frank Hughes (19th Pct).
The first parity checks ($1,650) were paid July 23, 1971, and the July checks reflected the $12,150 annual salary. At this time there was the first mention of police layoffs. Cops were docked with Taylor Law fines up to 10 days in the August 6th check. While the PBA collected 16,000 affidavits, thousands more demanded hearings. A federal court case went nowhere. We paid the fines, but made it up in other ways. I believe it was made up with sick days.
Governor Nelson Rockefeller was cheered at the PBA Convention (9/15/71) held at the Police Camp in Tannersville NY, for his handling of the Attica prison riots. President Richard Nixon imposed a wage-price freeze in August, but the Cost of Living Council ruled that any retroactive increase would be good up until that date.
Retired Detective Martin J. Gillen died August 3, 1971. Gillen, a Silgo man, was the model for the bronze memorial to policemen killed in the line of duty. The statue shows him in uniform, holding a furled flag with his hand on a boy’s shoulder. The boy was Mayor La Guardia’s son. The statute was placed to greet cops and their families at the Police Camp in Tannersville, New York. Today, the statue greets visitors at One Police Plaza.
Seven policemen were killed nation-wide in September 1971, bringing to 87 law enforcement officers slain nation-wide during the first nine months. According to the FBI, fourteen were slain in “ambush type attacks.” New York cops were required to wear uniform shoulder patches on September 10, 1971. They were sold at the Equipment Bureau for 35 cents each.
Under its public relations program (New York Cops Are Tops), the PBA gave lollipops and bubble gum to those lining the streets to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. The program also started the PBA canteen program where coffee & donuts were provided to the membership at parades and other important events (Pope’s Visit, St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Thanksgiving Day Parade). Remember not volunteering for the West Indian Day parade on Labor Day?
After months of negotiations, the delegate body turned down an offer that included the 24 squad chart that reduced late tours from 78 per year to 45 per year. It provided 19 additional days off, reducing the number of work days from 261 to 243 with various hour swings (from 96 to 56 hours).
Yes, the delegates turned down the 24 squad chart (229 to 105) . Cops don’t like change. The old 20 squad chart rotated the third platoon (4×12), second (8×4) and first (12-x8), and had 13-80 hour and 41-56 hour swings. It took some time to negotiate the new contact, but the 20 squad chart went into effect on Staten Island (8/20/72), Manhattan South (8/27/92), Brooklyn (9/10/72) & Manhattan North, Queens & the Bronx (9/18/72).
The cold-blooded murders (1/27/72) of Patrolmen Gregory Foster & Rocco Laurie by four mad-dog killers resulted in payment of $50,000 to their survivors by the federal government. The House Bill was introduced by Rep. Mario Biaggi (Bronx). Remember Lieutenant Biaggi had once been PBA Vice President before being promoted to Sergeant?
PBA President Ed Kiernan held a press conference (1/12/72) calling for the end of illegal summons quotas (goal of 100 summonses per month by men in RMP sectors and 50 summonses for patrolmen assigned to foot patrol) ordered by the Commanding Officer of the 24th Precinct. According to Memo #9, these numbers were assigned by the 5th Division, commanded by Inspector William Bonacum. Commissioner Murphy defended the quota system on the grounds that it meant “increased productivity.”
According to the PBA, Bonacum’s quota meant that 5th Division cops were writing 50,000 summonses a month or 600,000 a year. With an average fine of $15.00 per summons, this meant the city collected $9 million a year. Remember writing a movie violation – court affidavit and the other paper work? Remember the buff tag summonses for alternate side parking and green tag summonses for double parking and fire hydrant violations?
Note: I remember that the City was giving the PBA credit for summonses served during the 1976- 77 contract talks, but the figures were nowhere near the figures mentioned above.
Ed Kiernan retired to head the International Conference of Police Associations. He was elected by the delegates to the 155,000 member organization in July 1972. Police organizations across the country were under attack, not only by militants and revolutionaries, but also from their own bosses who sought to break the police organizations. Commissioner Patrick Murphy was the prime example of the die-hard union-buster. One remembers his most famous quote after cops voted to accept the contract, “They settled for half a loaf.”
Bob McKiernan succeeded Kiernan as PBA President. His first act was to call for Mayor Lindsay to fire Commissioner Murphy for smearing every honest cop with one stroke of the brush, just for the sake of gaining personal recognition. He blamed Murphy for the murder of Patrolman Philip Cardillo, 28th Pct at the Harlem Mosque #7, 116th Street & Lenox Avenue, and allowing the killers to go free. Neither Mayor Lindsay nor Murphy attended Phil Cardillo’s funeral.
One must read Circle of Six, by Robert Cea and Randy Jurgensen. This is the true story of New York’s most notorious murder. It was Detective Jurgenses who led the fight for justice. In fact, the police department just named a new police police launch in memory of Patrolman Cardillo. It appears that today’s NYPD men and woman are encountering the same problems we did four decades ago.