NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Mayor Bill de Blasio on Tuesday announced that the city has reached an agreement with the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association – which calls for all officers to begin wearing body cameras by the end of 2019.
“This settlement is consistent with all city labor agreements that have been reached in this round and upon ratification of this contract, the City of New York will have active labor agreements with over 99 percent of our workforce,” de Blasio said.
With the agreement in place, the city and the NYPD will be working harder to build trust between police and communities with a backdrop of record low crime, the mayor said.
“Most important, this agreement represents a big step forward for a vision of safety,” de Blasio said. “Trust between our police and communities is growing, for the mutual benefit of all, for the safety of our neighborhood residents and our officers – and that is a mission that we are very dedicated to. We want to build upon it, and build upon it rapidly.”
The new contract will include a pay raise every year on par with other uniformed unions, de Blasio said. It also focuses on neighborhood policing, an effort for which the mayor said “officers have already done an outstanding job.”
Among the provisions in the contract is one for each and every NYPD patrol officer and NYPD member to wear body cameras by the end of calendar year 2019, de Blasio said.
Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch – long a staunch adversary of Mayor de Blasio – said the contract respected the work and sacrifices of the officers of the NYPD.
He said it required long and hard negotiations to reach, but “it pales in comparison to the long nights and hard work that the women and men of the NYPD do on the streets each and every day.”
Lynch pointed out that the contract provides the disability benefits for officers that “they deserve,” so that if NYPD officers are injured on the job, they can still take care of their families.
Lynch said the contract also “shows the uniqueness of being a New York City police officer,” including officers’ responsibilities, the scrutiny they are under, and the life-saving techniques they must learn.
“It recognizes what we do on the streets of New York,” Lynch said.
Police Commissioner James O’Neill emphasized that efforts toward neighborhood policing and improved police-community relations will benefit all.
“(Officers are) bringing a lasting relationship with all their new friends in every corner of this great city, and they’re doing it while they continue to drive down crime,” O’Neill said.
It’s been four years since the officers got a new contract and Lynch says their salaries are among the lowest of any force in the nation.
The agreement between the city and the 24,000-member PBA was the first since 2012. Lynch had previously complained that NYPD officers’ salaries were among the lowest of any force in the nation, and his union protested outside of Mayor de Blasio’s gym in Brooklyn over the contract back in August – chanting, “one term mayor” and “work out later, pay us now.”
The PBA last year also filed a formal Declaration of Impasse with the state’s Public Employment Relations Board asking for a mediator, and Lynch actively sought challengers against de Blasio for this year’s mayoral race.
Earlier Tuesday, the mayor got a first-hand look at the new bullet-proof panels that will be installed on all NYPD patrol cars by next year. The windows are more than an inch-thick and can absorb fire at close range.
O’Neill also earlier said the city will also overhaul the department’s training facility at Rodman’s Neck. The renovation will include soundproofing.