Letter to the Editor from PBA President regarding Troopers’ role in homeland security
PBA President Dan De Federicis wrote a letter to the editor in The Buffalo News in response to that newspaper’s recent articles on Troopers’ evolving roles in homeland security. Below is the text of the letter as well as a link to the letter as posted on the newspaper’s web site.
State troopers are first line of defense
Two recent News articles reported on the increase in numbers of New York State troopers in the Buffalo-Niagara Falls area and their expanded duties enforcing border security. This is a tremendous advancement that will enhance our fight against terrorism.
This well-planned effort to increase the number and duties of our troopers to ensure our safety was initiated by Gov. George Pataki, who rejected the old-school philosophy that left border security exclusively to the federal government. He recognized that federal agencies could not exclusively be relied upon to guarantee border security, and he took decisive action. No other state on the Canadian or Mexican border has yet taken this welcome action.
We must ensure Pataki’s vision is not lost in the bureaucratic abyss we often find in state agencies. Our fight to enhance border security and prevent terrorism begins with the road patrol trooper.
Misguided bureaucrats can take well-thought-out plans and squander the precious new resources into pet projects and questionable expenditures. Many of our rank-and-file troopers are concerned the State Police hierarchy in Albany will create too many new "special details" and therefore deplete the backbone of our fight against terrorism – the road patrol trooper.
Intelligent police officials avoid creating endless lists of special details tucked away in back offices, away from the public and at the expense of road patrols.
Whether it’s the Oklahoma trooper who arrested Timothy McVeigh on a traffic stop, or dozens of patrol officers from various agencies who arrest fugitives on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list, it’s clear that the road patrol officer is our best defense against heinous crimes and dangerous fugitives. We must ensure that we have enough patrol officers on the front lines defending all of us.
DANIEL M. DE FEDERICIS
New York State Troopers PBA