The NYPD is prepared to protect New York City this Fourth of July in the wake of the terrorist attack in Istanbul, but civilians must also do their part by staying vigilant, Police Commissioner William Bratton said in a radio interview that aired Sunday.
“I have a very large police force, but we have a very large city,” Bratton told WNYM/970 AM host John Catsimatidis, adding, “There’s a shared responsibility ... to stay aware. If you see something that you think is suspicious or are aware of something that raises concern, pick up a phone and call. Let us check it out.”
Bratton said he believes neighbors who suspected the assailants in last month’s deadly attack on Ataturk Airport in Istanbul, Turkey, were building bombs could have notified authorities.
Although they believe the attack was the work of Islamic State group militants, no one has yet claimed responsibility. At least 44 people were killed and dozens injured.
The commissioner said the NYPD is expecting a safe holiday and fireworks display over the East River — put on by Macy’s and one of the biggest in the nation.
Meanwhile, the president of the largest police officers’ union told Catsimatidis that his members are sacrificing time with their own families on the Fourth of July to ensure the security of other families, reiterating that they deserve better salaries and benefits in a contract negotiation process.
The Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, which represents rank-and-file cops, last month filed a declaration of impasse with the New York State Public Employment Relations Board, requesting a mediator to jump-start what the union said were “deadlocked contract negotiations with the de Blasio administration.”
PBA president Patrick Lynch on the radio show criticized City Hall as providing no support to cops.
He said he was appealing to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo — a rival of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s — to help him ask the state Legislature to back a measure to improve compensation for his cops.
“We brought a renaissance to this city, and now what we see is we get no support,” Lynch said. “If we’re hurt, we’re left on our own, but we also see crime is creeping up and that’s dangerous.”
Overall crime is down but rates are higher in some categories.
An arbitrator last November ruled that police would receive retroactive raises of 1 percent each year for April 2010 to April 2012. The PBA painted the arbitrator as beholden to de Blasio.
If the union and city go to arbitration again, the new current contract would also cover only two years — 2012 to 2014.
“If City Hall won’t do it, unfortunately, we have to travel up the Thruway to Albany to ask them to do it,” Lynch said of unspecified raises. “And we need the governor’s support to do that. He’s voiced that support in the past. He realizes there’s problems.”
A de Blasio spokeswoman said at the time of declaration of impasse filing that City Hall tried to offer the PBA a “fair long-term deal” like the ones other police and uniformed officers’ unions have accepted. But, Freddi Goldstein said, the PBA is unwilling to negotiate and would rather “wage a political war.”