BLUE TRUTH: Yonkersites Can Choose to Believe Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano’s Communications Director Christina Gilmartin or Yonkers Police Benevolent Association President Det. Keith Olson

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Bronxville Tribune / Yonkers Tribune / Mount Vernon Tribune / Westchester Tribune Publisher / Editor-at-Large and WHYT Radio’s Westchester On the Level Host Hezi Aris.

The Blue Truth

The headline issued by Communications Director Gilmartin is adamant and succinct:  “City of Yonkers Launches Police Body-Worn Camera Pilot Program.”

Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano Unveils new Police Body Worn Camera Pilot Program at Yonkers City Hall

YONKERS, NY — August 18, 2020 — Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano Communications Director Christina Gilmartin ascribed her name to a press release issued today in which she advises that Mayor Spano and Yonkers Police Commissioner John Mueller have today launched the Yonkers Police Department’s new police body-worn camera pilot program. She asserts the “pilot program” will be “starting August 20th” and that “16 members of the Yonkers Police will wear body-worn cameras during their patrol tours during a free three-month trial (HEZI NOTE: The free three-month trial is a done deal; it is not a trial!).

“Since 2012 our Yonkers Police Department has enacted over 100 reforms (HEZI NOTE: no such reforms have ever been noted before; nor have any reforms been publicly divulged’; if there is any efficacy to these ‘unkown’  reforms, where have they been corroborated, by whom, and when were they ever validated?) In the effort to reimagine how local law enforcement agencies interact with its communities,” said Mayor Spano. (HEZI NOTE: if law enforcement agencies are interacting with their respective communities in Yonkers, why have these concepts never been divulged nor codified? Where can these concepts be found and how are they defined?) “The implementation of a police body camera program is something we’ve long pursued (HEZI NOTE: in the many years that body cameras were contemplated for use by police departments, the Yonkers Police Department through the YPBA have chosen to not agree to its officers wearing body-suit cameras.) And now I am proud we’ve come to agreements with our police unions and City Council in sanctioning a program that will better serve and provide even more transparency for our residents and police officers.” (HEZI NOTE: Christina Gilmartin refers to Mayor Mike Spano, the Yonkers City Council, and the YPBA and the Yonkers Captains, Lieutenants, and Sergeants Associates (CLSA). If there were “transparency” why have Yonkersites, the taxpayers, reading ambiguous words which detract from the truth regarding the body-worn cameras? This “deal” is not a three-months trial. This is part of a contract designed to serve the likes of YPBA Pres. Det. Olson). Commissioner John J. Mueller stated, “I am both excited and hopeful for the upcoming body-worn camera program. I believe that this program is yet another of many steps, initiatives, and innovations that will further move us toward increased transparency with how the YPD interacts with residents). (HEZI NOTE: Suggesting terms that are made vacuous by their being mentioned by P.C. Mueller does not make it so. He does not define the terms/ “many steps, initiatives, and innovations, increased transparency, and how the YPD interacts with residents). The implementation of body-worn cameras was at the top of the list of community input with regard to police reform (HEZI NOTE: only because America cried out for accountability which YPD has long languished passive/aggressively with the PBA against it being incorporated as a tool for the YPD). The press release continues to suggest that Mayor Spano’s administration moved quickly and decisively to make the pilot program happen. (HEZI NOTE: Only after monetary compensation was demanded and Mayor Mike Spano agreed and capitulated to extortion). We will be carefully assessing all aspects of the body-worn camera usage during the pilot program phase with the ultimate goal of implementing a protocol that protects both our officers and the residents we serve.” (HEZI NOTE) More of the B.S. already noted herein). This is a longevity agreement that will add 14 percent longevity agreement that will add 14 percent at the time of retirement and will be added to those retiring to their pension allocations

The City of Yonkers agreed to a free three-month pilot program with Axon, which includes the use and training for 16 cameras.  (HEZI NOTE: The corollary is that this program is part of the elite members of the Yonkers Police Department in the Third and Fourth Precincts who will wear Axon Flex 3 body cameras during their patrol tours. The cameras will transmit high definition video and audio when activated by the officer and will be uploaded after each tour to a secure cloud system at evidence.com. After the 90-day trial, the City will release a Request for Proposal (RFP) in order to purchase approximately 400 body-worn cameras for long-term use. The initial cost of the system is estimated to be $1.7 million, and $1.2 million each subsequent year. Axon currently provides service and cameras to the police departments in New York City, White Plains, NY and Westchester County. (HEZI NOTE: As noted above, why take up a 3-months long trial when New York City, White Plains, and Westchester County Police Departments already engage AXON and the product those cities purchased are proven to work to the benefit of the police departments mentioned and the communities served by these respective police departments.

“I am looking forward to the implementation of this three month pilot body camera program.  When I first introduced this back in 2015, I understood then the importance of body cameras and what it meant for our community. Body cameras would mean added trust between our community and law enforcement, but it would also mean transparency and protections for those on our police force,” stated Yonkers City Council Majority Leader Corazon Pineda-Isaac. “In the wake of recent events taking place throughout our country, the time to move forward with body cameras is even more pressing. Body cameras would not only hold our police officers accountable when on patrol, but they would protect them as well from potentially frivolous complaints lodged against them.  It’s a win-win for the police department as well as for the residents of our City”.  (HEZI NOTE: When then Yonkers City Council Member espoused the purchase of this system 5 years ago she was overridden behind closed doors by PBA Det. Pres. Keith Olson, and then Police Chief John Mueller (now Police Commissioner). Concern by YPD and the constituents within their care seemed of little interest then by Olson and Mueller. More money is now attached to the YPD, but only for those heading out the door over the next 5 years onward… specifically Olson who will hang around another 2 years.

According to the latest FBI statistics, the City of Yonkers is ranked the safest city of its size (200,000-250,000 residents).  Since 2011, excessive force complaints against the Yonkers Police Department have decreased by nearly 80%, with currently no reported excessive force complaints against the Department in 2020. (HEZI NOTE: The FBI has no statistics by which these assertions may be validated through their data base since COVID-19 and even months before. When Westchester County District Attorney Anthony A. Scarpino, Jr. attended a radio interview on the Westchester On the Level radio broadcast, he advised that the crime rate in Yonkers had increased by 39 percent. Even though the term “transparency” is bandied about, monthly statistics have not been divulged to any news outlet. Further still, under Police Commissioner John Mueller the Compstat tracking system is no longer used since he became P.C. That alone informs the reader that there are no statistics to validate the innocuous, meaningless terms espoused by Mueller, Olson or Christina Gilmartin on behalf of the Mayor who would only know what he is being told by Mueller and Olson. Also note that the shot stopper program has been allowed to deteriorate to the point of not being operational.

# # #

Letter addressing the Yonkers Police Benevolent Association membership written by Yonkers Police Benevolent Association Det. President Keith Olson dated August 17, 2020.

Yonkers PBA shield.

“Dear PBA members,

“As you all know, the COVID pandemic has prevented the PBA from conducting our normal monthly meetings. While we have supplemented this problem a bit by holding meetings via Zoom, it is not the same as having meetings in person. Please know that the PBA Board & Trustees meet and communicate often. In the meantime, while we find a way to solve this problem, if you have any issues, please do not hesitate to reach out to your trustee or a board member.

”There are a number of major issues we are dealing with that I would have preferred to speak about in person. One of those issues is the body worn cameras (BWC’s.) After many years of discussions and negotiations, the PBA and the City of Yonkers recently came to an agreement on this issue. Tomorrow (Olson refers to today, August 18th as attested by the press release issued by Mayor Mike Spano’s Communications Director Christina Gilmartin on behalf of Mayor Mike Spano), Mayor Spano will announce the launching of a BWC pilot program. This pilot program will begin within the next week or so with the ultimate goal of outfitting all officers in patrol with BWC’s (HEZI NOTE: Deal done).

”The Yonkers PBA has maintained for years that implementing a BWC program was a mandatory subject of collective bargaining (HEZI NOTE: The PBA refused to engage the latest technology). Maintaining this steadfast position allowed the PBA to ultimately negotiate a BWC policy that is fair to our members (HEZI NOTE: only for those over 15 years or more, that is, eligible for longevity pay) and also allowed the opportunity for us to negotiate a tremendous financial benefit to the entire membership (HEZI NOTE: The new recruits get nada for years out). Over the next three years, there will be increases to all three steps in longevity pay. Currently, longevity pay is paid as follows; 

”Upon completion of 9 years, members receive 3% of their annual base salary.

”Upon completion of 14 years, members receive 6% of their annual base salary.

”Upon completion of 18 years, members receive 9% of their annual base salary.

”Starting on September 15, 2020, longevity pay will be increased as follows;

”Upon completion of 9 years, members receive 4% of their annual base salary.

”Upon completion of 14 years, members receive 8% of their annual base salary.

”Upon completion of 18 years, members receive 12% of their annual base salary.

”On September 15, 2021, longevity pay will be increased as follows;

”Upon completion of 9 years, members receive 5% of their annual base salary.

”Upon completion of 14 years, members receive 10% of their annual base salary.

”Upon completion of 18 years, members receive 13% of their annual base salary.

”On September 15, 2022, longevity pay will be increased as follows;

”Upon completion of 18 years, members receive 14% of their annual base salary.

”(HEZI NOTE): The longevity pay is a bonus on top of the regular and overtime salaries earned. Longevity pay will be added and counted into one’s pension that is sustained many years beyond retirement and at this juncture it is questionable whether the City of Yonkers is financially capable to endure the future costs devised and noted above.

”The PBA fought long and hard for years on this issue. (HEZI NOTE: The PBA fought long and hard not to accept BWC’s. While every other Police Department in Westchester County had no difficulty accepting and using BWC’s, ONLY the Yonkers PBA membership chose to say, “No”, while everyone else said, “Yes!” It seems the Yonkers Way keeps on ticking and the taxpayer takes the beating.”)

”We did not settle it until we felt we had a deal that was fair to all of our members. (HEZI NOTE: The deal was not fair to the City of Yonkers because we are not financially capable to afford these payouts over the coming years. The conduct by the Yonkers PBA was absolute extortion.) (HEZI NOTE: This “deal” was a payout specifically designed for Yonkers PBA Det. Pres. Keith Olson to make a hefty financial exit over the next year or two, but no more. Mayor Mike Spano need not have allowed himself to be extorted unless he wanted to. It is evidently the latter.) Please, if anyone has any questions on this issue, please reach out to a PBA rep.

”Thank you all for everything you do, especially in these trying times. Stay vigilant and stay safe!

 ”KO

Det. Keith Olso”President

”Yonkers PBA”

eHeziBLUE TRUTH: Yonkersites Can Choose to Believe Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano’s Communications Director Christina Gilmartin or Yonkers Police Benevolent Association President Det. Keith Olson

Comments 45

  1. For nine plus years, the Spano clan has spit in the face of Yonkers residents. This administration’s abject and unabashed corruption is disgraceful. The nepotism, the payoffs, the conflicts of interest never seem to end. Spano switched to Democrat to get elected mayor-that’s all. One wonders if there was a Republican district attorney, attorney general, or governor would this be allowed to continue without an investigation. What will it take for someone to do something about this crooked family and their cronies smug perpetuation of their arrogant, self-serving behavior?

    1. Well said. The Spano’s take protection cash from a dirtbag like Olson. That is why he was able to get away with assaulting other officers, taking personnel files, unauthorized investigations and the list goes on. All bottom feeders feeding off the members cash. What do they get? Well new Body Cams and Spano’s brother and that disgusting embarrassment of a union leader Keith Olson gets 18 percent longevity out the door. YPD don’t vote for any Spano because the other unions don’t

  2. That fat loser takes a knee , but staged a bunch of lies against other cops to keep his seat and used PBA funds to make a mad man like Mueller a PC. The Feds should start with the cash trail of the Yonkers PBA.

  3. Wondering if Mayor Mike Spano will give the other unions increased cash for trying out a “pilot program “ or was this another payback for PBA lobbying cash now running at the tune of $24,000 since Keith Olson signed with Empire Strategic in 2014. You do the math.
    Keith Olson is a sellout rat to other union leaders. He targeted his own cops at every level for that fool John the Joker Mueller who also did the same. Now they suck on meatballs with the Spano’s.

  4. This is a clear signal that the Spano’s have two choices; the first is give away the store because Mike Spano is term limit out, and two unions will all go without contracts for a few more years while that one percentage like Olson will go away far.

  5. Just read this story and in a City already under great financial strain the jerk Mayor Spano gives up taxpayers cash to feed a union President’s pension. Or maybe it was to take care of his brother Gerard as he gets ready to retire.

  6. An entire class of 4th graders are smarter than these fools that run Yonkers. That is a fact. Vote them out Yonkers or just pay for another longevity raise for a union rat leader

    1. Term limits, limit choice. If real people actually voted, Spano would be gone. The friends and family network will rally around John Rubbo to keep their jobs. The fix is in. John switched parties after Nick visited the brewery. Spano is playing chess and Rubbo is not his only pawn.

      1. I think it is the opposite. Incumbents limit choice. One candidate is always the same. Incumbents historically win re-elections . “Incumbent members of the House seeking re-election are all but assured re-election. The re-election rate among all 435 members of the House has been as high as 98 percent in modern history, and it’s rarely dipped below 90 percent.” “The few people who do vote in the primaries tend to be members of special interest groups that the incumbents have worked hard to turn into supporters. These voters reward incumbents for policy favors they’ve received by voting for them in the primary election” Local politics is the same. Term limits will at least offer new candidates , not necessarily better ones.

  7. Your kids stay home, and one percent of the PBA gets a nice longevity raise. Barry must be laughing because he didn’t give up 207a to get longevity in 2013.
    So the fat Al Birch gets a going away raise. Take it KO and get the hell out you loser.

  8. First of all, let’s remember that the mortality rate of this virus is about .1%. Secondly, If you don’t believe that the damage being inflicted upon society and particularly on children, by staying locked up at home for the next five years or however long it takes to develop a vaccine and/or a cure isn’t worse, then you are a fool. I thought all we were supposed to do was “flatten the curve”. Anybody remember that tag line?

    1. Suck it up. You union blood suckers voted for that drunken Mayor Spano again. This is what happens when you circumvent term limits. They give taxpayers cash to cash COWS like that sweet craven liar KO as he walks out the door with a nice longevity pension boost.
      The Mayor don’t give two shits about the schools or the teachers. They don’t pay lobbying cash to Nick Spano

  9. “my kids will have to stay home because the YFT is calling the shots” so let me ask the poster of this nonsense post what does he want the school system to do…open up as they did at the University of Chappel Hill where they immediately had to close because of the COVID..or how about opening up like the Georgia school systems did and having again to immediately close.What is it you don’t understand…Why are you willing to sacrifice the health and safety of our teachers so that your kids don’t have to stay home….even though Trumps kid is indeed staying home…Why is it you don’t get that COVID is a dangerous virus that doesn’t respect your political viewpoint and can infect anyone and everyone if exposed

    1. Well then move on you leaning left liberal and choose for yourself what you want for your children. You can home school or decide remote. We all got hit with this virus that came from China. Don’t blame the President he didn’t make the virus.

      1. the President gets plenty of blame…of course he didn’t create the virus But more to the point when he was warned by his trade rep that the virus was coming and could kill 500,000 people Trump ignored the warning…when Joe Biden wrote an op ed warning ofthe danger he dismissed the warning…Trump in February and March said there was only a few cases and they would magically disappear…then he suggested ingesting bleach into your body to deal with the virus…then he said in the warm weather it would magically go away…Trump botched the pandemic…he is the person that could have ordered a national stay at home order which would have kept the number of deaths and cases to a minimum just as other countries did like Italy south korea..Instead he punted to the 50 governors so he could avoid taking the political heat if something went wrong…Well plenty went wrong the US has the absolute worst record of any nation in the world…we have 25%of the cases with 5% of the worlds population…History will record that like Nero Trump played golf while the nation burned

        1. Idiot…why don’t you research how Obama handled Swine Flu…they stopped testing because they couldn’t do a thing about it…also, Kamala Harris boasted about Obama’s handling of Ebola…MAJOR lie…Ebola had been around since the 1970s and WAS NOT AN AIRBORNE VIRUS – was spread by bodily fluids – and they compare it to a NEW, AIRBORNE VIRUS…

  10. “ I did not attack anyone nor do any unauthorized investigations. In fact, I did not look or take anyone’s personnel files”
    Now vote for me again and I will give you longevity after about a decade”.
    Keith Olson

  11. Yeah another smart self serving move by the new more improved master of deceit Al Birch – Olson, aka the woodsman. First to the cheese platter and first to set other cops up.

  12. Yonkers PD has hit rock bottom. Hopefully the Body Cams will help the innocent and protect other police personnel from dirtbags like Keith Olson and his Joker friend.

    1. This is a City where big Nicky Bags Spano controls everything. We can only hope that the Feds are looking into them again. It is a cash and carry suck city and Mike Spano doesn’t give a rats ass about Yonkers students. He only cares about eating with rats 🐀 like Keith Olson and his push the laughing Joker Mueller

  13. This is a complete joke. All this BS about “transparency” and “accountability”. The City had to grease the cops to get them to wear these cameras? If it’s so important to have body cameras, than the administration should have demanded they wear them, and let them fight it out in court. Meanwhile, my kids will have to stay home because another group of mobsters, the YFT, is calling all the shots as well. This city is a disgrace.

  14. Crime is through the roof and Yonkers is certainly not a safe city for 2020. Too bad the Spano back stabbed a real Police Commissioner. Mueller should pursue a school crossing job near a food truck run by Olson

  15. This deal helps us newer cops the most. Longer periods of time with higher longevity= more $. It benefits us the most, especially those of us who are Tier V and Tier VI.

  16. This is the typical Mueller-Olson shuffle. More for them and nothing for the new members until they are here for almost a decade. Now vote for Olson because he delivered a nice going away present for HIMSELF

  17. Not a great plan, except if your a big fat guy with more than twenty years on the job. The plan is you dudes with under ten years go take pictures and do your job and we one percent of the job will grab some cheeseburgers as we are padding out pension.
    It’s what you call a Mike Spano “ stupid plan” in exchange for lobbying cash.
    Only in Yonkers

  18. A great plan for the citizens and police dept of Yonkers.

    Thank you Mayor mike spano and majority leader Isaac. Working together for the people.

  19. Another back stabbing move by Keith Olson. Worst union in New York State. Fact Barry got that in 2013 fat boy while you gave back. Fact Yonkers Patrol isn’t getting a raise for a very long time nor retro, but you boys with 18 years and better get a nice slice of cheese

  20. Was this a union contract? So it appears that less than ten years you get body cams and get to go on jobs while the very senior PBA Trustees and Board members get cash added to their pension as they spread misinformation. Fools gold

  21. Nothing new in the most Corrupt City on the East Coast.
    Yonkers Firefighters got the longevity hike last contract when that fat fool Keith Olson gave away millions and allowed changes to 207c.
    Sure 3/4 of the force has less then ten years. So the working patrol force gets Body Cams and fat disgusting Keith Olson gets a nice big boost to his pension. Pays to pay an ex convict like Nick Spano.

  22. Another self serving behind the scene move by one of the worst lying PBA Union President in New York State. Guess if you kneel and lie on Black Westchester.

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