The Yonkers Police Benevolent Association (Yonkers PBA) and its leaders have been under scrutiny for quite some time at the behest of its President Detective Keith Olson. Olson has dragged his association under the Broadway-like lights replete with his personal and flagrant disregard for internal procedures that are seemingly as outrageous as they are arrogantly boundless. Since winning election to the office of President of the Yonkers PBA Keith Olson’s attitude and conduct toward Yonkers residents, as well as to the membership have fueled the negativity that most police departments face today. He has gone on the record defending those cops that have been proven to have gone rogue; he has himself faced internal actions. His conduct and attitude toward local politicians suggests that he has full blown immunity. His perch as Yonkers PBA President is further embellished by union funds. Does being a law enforcement official, or being a member of the Yonkers PBA, a private police association, exonerate internal police misconduct?
Are Police Officers’ actions, acting under the dark veil of union representation, to be held harmless of the law? Olson’s insulting attempts to publicly defend those who fly under that stained Yonkers PBA umbrella may be indicative of the propensity by many nationally calling for police departments to be reigned into compliance of legal and balanced conduct. The integrity of such demands are born out of historical conduct proven to having been engaged by disparate police departments. Likewise, the Yonkers Police Department (YPD) has suffered the intrusion of politics forcefully insinuated into the micromanagement of their eventual conduct. It is the very insinuation of politics demanded of the YPD that has caused the diminution of effectively holding onto standards and decorum abiding by societal expectations of them inscribed into law.
Rogue conduct by some members of the Yonkers PBA have diminished the effectiveness of the YPD, coerced illegal conduct by the YPD, and nurtured a police department within the YPD that is manned by rogue police. Those rogue cops no longer abide by the chain of command. They have instead been unleashed to serve the political elite in Yonkers City Hall as morale and conduct is maligned by their rebellious demeanor. The gang undermining the YPD with impunity have molded a police department that can no longer police itself. The City of Yonkers has taken a hands off approach when dealing with union officials like Det. Keith Olson who have clearly crossed the line of propriety.
The last criminal probe into the Yonkers Police Department was smeared with cover-ups, office break-ins, and heavy denials. It is such acceptable ingredients that seem to be the popular Yonkers PBA cocktail. Internal police reports and pending Federal Lawsuits filed by Yonkers civilians and Police Officers may be the ticking time bomb that prompts external changes and engenders a recognition and need for some type of governmental oversight. That commission or oversight may even force widespread internal Investigations into the inner workings of police personnel who shield themselves from alleged misconduct with union money, bullying tactics, and intimidating union representatives that sit in during internal probes. Once considered a, “No, No”; yet no longer considered the aberration it has become.
Does the community expect to get honest answers when after such interviews are concluded, the union representative sitting in during an internal investigation immediately calls the union leader and reports what transpired during the interview? There are reports that current Yonkers Police Officers have refused the presence of PBA representation for fear of being outed as a rat and for reporting what was said by union thugs to PBA President Olson. This antiquated process only hinders internal investigators from performing a fair and thorough investigation of all involved, including citizens as well. Thus, the internal investigators are caught between a rock and a hard place, and at times may have been pressured to change the outcome of the inquiry. This is the very intimidating union tactic that is used on a daily routine. Is the Yonkers PBA really concerned over the rights of its members? Perhaps it is more concerned over what is said. Why not have “real attorneys “ sit in during the process to insure client attorney privileges? Why not have independent investigators review internal probes, and/or complainants. After all, big names like Chief John Mueller, among others, and certainly Olson never appear before Internal Affairs without paid legal counsel. Are there any financial records with respect to how much money the PBA members shelled out for legal fees for the past few years? How much has Olson used for his defense from the Quinn Legal Fund thus far? It would be telling in learning who is writing the checks and what the billable hours are for each legal action. Such is the scared and anxious face of the Yonkers PBA under Detective Keith Olson.
Police unions acting under the umbrella that they are a private association; and can make up rules or mislead Internal Affairs investigators for fear of being called a “rat” is why many would suggest that the Yonkers Police Department can’t investigate itself. Private or not, association or not, no union personnel is above the law and should not operate in that manner. The hubris of Yonkers PBA President Olson is indicative of an in your face bully whose behavior is no longer a surprise to most insiders.
As the Yonkers Police Association celebrated its centenary, it now appears to be struggling with some serious and persistent internal issues that have sunken Yonkers Police morale to an all-time low, as members find themselves pitted against fellow members. Giving out free tickets to the PBA Installation Dinner won’t change the morale, nor does it give anyone a pass for internal police misconduct. Cover-ups and perjury is unhealthy for any police department; flanked by smear campaigns for impeaching members, transferring members and assaulting members at Yonkers PBA functions. This behavior has become indicative and systemic, backed up by blistering and devastating internal reports and other sources.
The roll call from Yonkers PBA President Olson and his cronies has been consistent: “lie and deny”. Thereafter initiate frivolous petitions that are pointless and baseless. The Yonkers PBA union leader may have taken a page out of cattle farming, because he has been leading his mostly new members to the slaughter house as evidenced by the Yonkers PBA’s contract in which they gave away 207c to City Hall and were clearly outmaneuvered by the Yonkers Firefighters’ contracts.
The Yonkers Police Department is struggling and those unfamiliar with the YPD will be quick to blame Yonkers Police Commissioner Charles Gardner, but it is not because of the PC. The YPD’s root problems were initiated by the inner workings and backstabbing conduct by a rogue Police Union leader. It is no secret that Olson is and will continue to be a cancerous growth for any Police Commissioner or any other endeavor he may be aspiring to engage. The Yonkers PBA pushed for John Mueller using all methods and PBA assets to get him where he is currently stationed. This circumstance transpired on the backs of hard working uniform members. Yes, most of the Yonkers PBA Board members are making the most of what little overtime there seems to be while the uniformed personnel are given shift changes, and are thrust into weekend charts to plug up overtime without a sincere peep from the Yonkers PBA. If Olson is not bragging about dispensing his own justice regarding his Greenburgh road trip, he grinningly tells his members that times are rough, and overtime is not guaranteed, that is unless you are a Kool-Aide board member. Overtime pay is clearly inputted into the computer for all to see. Meanwhile PBA union Trustees are raking in the cash engaging in frivolous non-uniform overtime. When those union “groupies” or Kool- Aide drinkers are not filling out there union status overtime slips, they are usually found fanning the Yonkers PBA union leader with signatures of union petitioners that are in reality threats to silence members. In essence, it is a straight up attack on stopping whistleblowers and chilling the First Amendment Rights guaranteeing the freedom of speech. In fact, Olson’s latest petition is still in transit or floating around next to his used, stubbed cigars in his City-owned vehicle. It appears that the rogue union leader, who compiled files against others, and stealthily attacked fellow PBA members has landed himself and others in the sight of the Southern District United States Court.
As robberies and shootings rise alarmingly in the City of Yonkers (CoY), street arrests seem to be on the rise. During 2015, right after the Dario Tenor investigation a widespread criminal probe into the practices of some plainclothes police personnel, who were Yonkers PBA Trustees, have been led to jail at costs that will likely cost CoY taxpayers unheard of millions in litigation costs alone.
Since the Dario Tenor investigation Yonkers arrests dried up like a water well somewhere in the Sahara; units were restructured and renamed. So for almost a year the arrests by Yonkers Police officers for a variety of crimes came to a screeching halt and so did the workload for the court clerks. Most of the arrests were from calls of service, and not the usual “stop and frisk” that seem focused in targeting specific groups. Yonkers may need to rebuild schools, but they also need to address internal police misconduct and the lies and denials of union officials. It may in fact behoove our Albany Delegation representatives to be more concerned about representing its constituents, than a tainted union leader who attacks free speech with misconduct or parking tickets.