Last month, Governor Cuomo vetoed the ¾ disability bill for Uniformed Court Officers and Peace Officers who are permanently disabled as a result of performing their duties to serve and protect. This is the 4th year in a row that this bill has been vetoed. The Governor is a liar and phony who says with one breath that he has the backs of law enforcement and then, with the next breath, he vetoes a bill that will protect Court Officers and Peace Officers that become permanently disabled while performing their job. He is a hypocrite that cares about nothing more than where his next vote will come from.
When the Governor vetoed the ¾ bill it felt as though we got kicked in the teeth again. Although that was painful, the fact that Chief Judge DiFiore did not support the bill that protects the very people that protect her, her judges, and her courts were extraordinarily more painful. The Chief Judge's refusal to write a letter in support of the bill was a sucker punch to the people that she purports to care about. Like the Governor, with one breath she boasts about how proud she is of the Court Officers around the state and with the next breath, she fails to write a letter in support of the ¾ disability bill. Her inaction is offensive and egregious to all the men and women in uniform.
With that said, the Office of Public Safety put out an announcement that they will be holding training sessions for anyone interested in becoming a part of the Special Response Team (SRT). I implore anyone interested in becoming a part of the SRT to make an informed decision. Remember that being a member of the SRT means that you will be called upon to respond to volatile situations that will put you at higher risk for a permanently disabling injury. If that happens, as a result of the Governor's veto, and lack of support from Judge DiFiore, you will only be eligible for a 1/3 disability pension. It is highly commendable for any officer to want to better their skills and respond to emergency situations in order to protect the judges, the staff and the public. Before you sign up, however, please consider the cost. You will be at a higher risk of injury as a member of the SRT. Your employer has clearly shown that they do not care what happens to you or your family if you should become permanently disabled as a result of performing your duties. Be aware that if you get hurt and cannot come back to work, you will have to settle for a retirement disability pension that will amount to about 1/3 of your pay. How will you support your family if that happens? How will you survive for the next 20, 30, or 40 years on a 1/3 disability pension? Please think about it before you sign up. Know the risks. Understand how a permanently disabling injury will have long term affects on the well being of you and your family. Make an informed decision. The choice you make today could have serious consequences.