TOWN OF OYSTER BAY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – A small police force on Long Island is in a big campaign against the village it works for.
Officers say the job is ruining their lives. They say it’s not the crime fighting, it’s their schedule.
As CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported, Muttontown, with its luxury homes and tranquil woods, is dotted with signs of battle with unlikely adversaries: the small police force fighting its own village administration.
“Our department right now is just not a good place to be,” said PBA President Kris Kozlowski.
In two years, five of the 12 police officers have quit. The exodus has nothing to do with the work in the low-crime village or the potential six-figure pay, Gusoff reported. The problem is their rotating work schedules. Every week, it’s different hours – the day shift, night shift, overnight shift, then repeat.
“Going to sleep at a different time every single week, it just does numbers on your body,” Kozlowski said. “It’s also very toxic on your home life.”
“Every time I went to a doctor, they said, ‘you are going to die a slow death with this schedule,’” said Emanuel Giglio, who quit the force.
He said he survived overseas combat but rotating schedules are a killer.
“I’ve worked a lot of different schedules – Afghanistan, I worked restaurants – this one, by far, is the worst,” he said.
First responders work all shifts, but in most departments, those shifts last months, not a week.
Now, police are taking sides in a contentious village election. The public’s taking sides, too.
“I think they’re getting paid very. very well, and I don’t think this is a very high-crime area,” one woman said.
“We certainly want our policemen to be alert and wide awake when they’re on the job,” said a man.
What’s the rationale for the rotating schedules? Police say village administrators have insisted they save taxpayer money on overtime and have told police they knew what they were getting themselves into.
CBS2’s requested a comment from the outgoing mayor, but got no response. The police commissioner running for that position said it’s a shame to see a police union use a local bucolic village election to negotiate their contract that’s expiring at the end of the year.
There’s also debate over the cost analysis.
“It creates more overtime, more sick days and actually is more expensive to the community,” said Chris Economou, a candidate for village trustee.
The village election is a week away.
Muttontown’s current Mayor Julianne Beckerman is not seeking re-election. She’s fighting tax evasion charges.