The Dopers Hezitorial
YONKERS, NY — October 3, 2019 – Addiction and alcohol abuse has rarely been openly spoken about among Yonkers Police personnel, no matter the rank, and never publicly. Over the past two decades, the Internal Affairs Division of the Yonkers Police Department uncovered some concerns among personnel. Such Police Officers were recognized through so-called random drug-test screenings to be suffering from an addiction, no matter the catalyst. Test results were often gleaned by taking urine samples. The testing was basically to uncover chemical signatures that revealed the use of marijuana, as well as cocaine.
The percentage of officers testing positive for substance abuse years ago were few and far between. Neither then, nor now, does the YPD test for opioids, pain killers, steroids, fentanyl, heroin. It must be recognized that police work in the present is much more stressful than in years past. So stressful, that an increase in drug use, depression, and suicide has and continues to undermine the capacity of every police department no matter the locale.
Yonkers Police Department seems to have no accountability for those “dopers” who are deemed invisible when they wear their shield. Ever since Mike Spano acceded to the office of mayor almost 8 years ago, random drug screening took a back seat to the consequence of addiction physically, mentally, and financially on an individual, their family, the community at large, and the department itself. The Spano Administration chose to espouse pride and respect for the department dressed in blue, but in actuality they undermined the police department by mouthing the words that covered up the fact that they did not care about the officers in blue. Had they cared, they would have continued the paltry drug testing, not to catch a wayward police officer, but to learn who had a problem and contend with their personal demons so as to bring them back to a state of health. The excuse that testing was too costly, and deemed unnecessary by the Spano Administration, in hindsight revealed that were not respectful of the YPD personnel. They were outwardly embarrassed when an officer overdosed on an illicit drug, but they used that knowledge to dominate and threaten YPD personnel. City Hall wanted administrators to out those suffering addiction. YPD wanted internal complaints so as to engender fear among the personnel in order to control them.
It proved to be an untenable concept. Precinct commanders didn’t want to be known as rats to the officers in their charge because to do so would only breed contempt. Secondly, if anyone in the police department thought that administering such tests would be their way of targeting good and decent personnel by exacting a childish grudge, they were mistaken.
Other than testing a bunch of rookie cops here and there infrequently, Yonkers is more concerned about contract givebacks, take home cars, and making sure the union heads keep that endorsement cash close to their vests.
Keep in mind that Yonkers is a very corrupt political town and one could and do say that the Spano Family has taken full control of every department with its Spano loyalists or plants placed in every unit or form of government from construction contracts, building permits, to student’s club money accounts’ usage by the Yonkers Board of Education to purchase accounting software that is not warranted nor needed for high school students’ club checking accounts. The only confusing part is who is really running Yonkers.
Over the last ten years YPD has increasingly suffered more drug overdoses, with drug usage on and off-duty, and yes, drug related deaths as well. Somehow there are reports that some supervisors may have dropped the ball, so to speak, and have not reported what has been occurring within the Yonkers PD.
Now sources report that when Yonkers Police Officer Robert McDonough overdosed in full uniform and on duty in his police car while parked at the Third Precinct parking lot, the Yonkers Police Benevolent Association (the union) had inserted their black-gloved hand into the internal investigation, which could have or may have obstructed an Internal Affairs investigation. Obstruction comes in many forms and we will let the readers arrive at their own conclusions. The takeaway is that by protocol, Internal Affairs must be permitted access before anybody else.
When an officer is involved in an incident of some kind, supervisors are the first to be told, yet are not always the first to attend. It happens too frequently that union representatives do not await Internal Affairs to conduct such investigations, which is protocol. One has to wonder why the union is permitted this capacity.
Many readers will remember that Yonkers PBA President Det. Keith Olson is far from credible and his reputation derogatorily precedes him. Sources say that the Yonkers PBA usually goes into an automatic defensive mode which does not help when union reps are interfering and telling other police personnel what to say. Now the department is at the point where Olson is telling Police Detectives like DellaDonna, to refuse to give a urine sample and a blood sample for testing for drugs, and others, not to cooperate with Police Investigators. Not helpful to anyone. Not good union practice either; placing good cops’ lives in danger because someone may have a problem.
That is what causes more drug usage and subsequent deaths. The mindset that permeates the Yonkers Police Department is that PBA President Det. Olson is so powerful that you can do anything on the street and not get fired. A mind blowing revelation that falls on the shoulders of Mayor Mike Spano.
Mayor Mike Spano plays false pretense with Yonkersites asserting he wants accountability but does not demand it. Instead, Mayor Spano permits Olson’s derogatory excesses so as to leverage Olson’s endorsements and cash, thus making sure no one is held responsible or made the wiser.
There are Yonkers Police Officers who refuse to talk to ANY investigators citing Hippa regulations.They may do so by omitting a word or two out of a report from a witness, may overlook evidence, may move evidence, and thereafter then engage in a theatrical tirade / drama. Mayor Spano tells people he wants to fire drug users. Such directives are followed up by P.O.s taking their place on stage and rehearsing their part. By the end of the show, wink, wink, the arbitrator, if it gets that far, rules in favor of the union member as expected, because it just happens to be that Yonkers Corporation Counsel put up an innocuous legal case. No drinks and no popcorn, just drug users and drug stealers getting saved to overdose another day.
Yonkers PD has a no nonsense policy and procedure that is not worth the paper its printed on because of the theatrics employed by the Yonkers PBA. They have a long track record of harassment, and obstruction and hinderance of investigations under Keith Olson. The families of those now deceased police personnel should be holding the PBA and the City of Yonkers accountable for what has now become commonplace in the Yonkers PD.
The City of Yonkers has now stacked such officers in an undisclosed hideout where they are running out of room to accommodate them all. These people needed help in the past, and need help now. Police work is not a place where you want to get high. Lives are put in danger on all sides. The Yonkers Police Department needs to find integrity and professionalism first before it slaps cuffs on some teenager for the same thing. Unions are much better run when they are not paying Nick Spano lobbying money every year.
Now is the time for the Community and others to rally together and send a message to the Spano Family that enough is enough. Perhaps not everyone can do the job of a professional Police Officer.
RIP Daniel Egan and Pete Salva
EDITOR’S NOTE: Lest it be forgotten, former Yonkers Police Commissioner Charles Gardner, recognizing the high number of drug addicted police officers on detail, was desirous to have testing undertaken for everyone in the department. Yonkers City Hall refused with Yonkers PBA support.