Auxiliary Police Protection Bill Remains On Hold


Assaulting a Con Ed worker or MTA station cleaner can now get you a year or more in the pokey under newly signed state legislation, but the message to the NYPD’s auxiliary police remains the same – if they get assaulted on the job the perpetrator may just get a slap on the wrist and be a subway swipe away from home.

Assemblyman Joe Lentol
Assemblyman Joe Lentol

The failure to pass legislation for the second year in a row to make assaulting an auxiliary police member on the job a felony has roiled the all-volunteer cops even more so considering that just about every other major public and private agency working with the public now gets that level of protection. This includes sanitation workers, nurses, utility workers, school crossing guards and traffic enforcement agents.

“I’m not looking to take away the protections from these other categories, but I don’t know of any utility workers and registered nurses killed in the line of duty,” said Queens Assembly Member David Weprin, who has tried to get the measure out of the Assembly Codes Committee and its Chair Assemblyman Joe Lentol (Williamsburg, Greenpoint) for two years.

“But the political reality is some of the other workers have unions and lobbyists, and unfortuneately the auxiliary police don’t have the same manpower to lobby for this,” he added.

According to the official NYPD website, the auxiliary police are recruited, trained and equipped minus guns by the police department. They assist in performing uniformed patrol with their local police precincts, housing police service Areas, and transit districts.

Weprin said he first became involved with the issue in 2007 while serving in the city council when two auxiliary police officers were gunned down in Greenwich Village. Following the incident the City Council passed a measure mandating that auxiliary cops be given access to free bulletproof vests.

According to Weprin’s proposed bill, A05468B, perpetrators assaulting auxiliary police while on the job and in uniform are subject to felony assault charges that could bring up to seven years in jail. Weprin said this only applies to auxiliary cops while on duty, unlike the measure that protects regular cops on of off duty.

State Sen. Marty Golden
State Sen. Marty Golden

Bay Ridge Sen. Marty Golden, a former NYPD officer, is sponsoring the measure on the senate side, and his spokesperson, Jerry Kassar, said Golden remains committed to re-sponsoring the bill in the next legislative session. The problem in passage of the bill appears to be on the assembly side, Kassar said.

Auxiliary Police Benevolent Association President John Hyland put the failure for the bill to pass on Lentol’s shoulders, but Lentol said it was Weprin’s failure to compromise on the measure that doomed the bill.

“We’re not looking to stop auxiliary police from getting protection, we just wanted his bill to take a different penalty and not equate it to the same penalty for a (regular) police officer being assaulted,” said Lentol.

Weprin said he is amenable to changing some of the wording in the bill and will re-introduce it again during the 2017 legislative session, which starts in January.

Glenn Nocera
Glenn Nocera

Among the strong supporters of the bill is Glenn Nocera, the Republican candidate for the open 44th Assembly District seat representing Park Slope, Windsor Terrace and Kensington. Nocera is a 21-year veteran and sergeant in auxiliary police working out of the 66th precinct.

“As an auxiliary police officer you still put on the uniform of the police department with the same NYPD logo and patches so any assault against them should be like assaulting a police officer,” said Nocera.

It is foolish to not support the men and women who dedicate their time to serving and protecting the public, and it would be a travesty and slap in the face if auxiliary officers were assaulted and nothing happened to the perpetrator, he added.