PBA asks for removal of this year’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade grand marshal
The Board of Directors of the State Troopers PBA has asked for the removal of the grand marshal chosen for this year’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New York City. The chosen grand marshal is a vice president at Ford Motor Company, which manufactures the Crown Victoria Police Interceptor used by thousands of police officers across the country. Ford has refused to make design changes to the vehicle despite the vehicle’s propensity to burst into flames when it is hit in the rear, causing the death of more than a dozen police officers across the country. Below is a link to the New York Daily News newspaper, which published a story about the PBA’s letter to the parade committee chairman asking for the removal of the grand marshal. Below the link is the text of the letter sent by the PBA to the parade committee chairman.
Letter to Mr. James Barker, Chairman of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee
Dear Mr. Barker,
We are writing to you to express our extreme disappointment that Mr. James G. O’Connor, a vice president of Ford Motor Company, has been chosen as the grand marshal for the 2003 St. Patrick’s Day Parade. We are asking you to reconsider your decision on the grand marshal and designate another individual who is not affiliated with Ford. Please note that we are not directing our comments at Mr. O’Connor as an individual, but rather his position of leadership at Ford Motor Company.
We are sure you are aware that New York State Trooper Robert Ambrose was killed in Yonkers on Dec. 19, 2002 when his Ford Crown Victoria patrol car exploded after being hit in the rear by a sport utility vehicle. To date, more than a dozen police officers across the country have been killed and many others have been injured because their Crown Victorias erupted in flames when hit in the rear of the vehicle.
As the labor union representing uniformed members of the New York State Police from the rank of Trooper through the rank of Major, it is our priority to guarantee the safety of our members who serve and protect the public. Efforts to convince Ford to make safety improvements to the Crown Victoria have been rebuffed by the company. Insisting the Crown Victoria is a safe vehicle, Ford has given law enforcement officers across the country – and officers’ grieving families – a slap in the face by denying vehicle safety flaws and by refusing to redesign it.
One of the crowd favorites and time-honored traditions of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade is the marching of hundreds of law enforcement officers, including New York State Troopers, along Fifth Avenue. It is discouraging to think that a vice president of a company that has insulted police agencies and associations with its defiant stand against efforts to ensure the safety of our nation’s police officers would lead this year’s parade.
With the facts before you, we would again ask you to reconsider your choice for grand marshal and name another individual to the position. Please support the men and women of law enforcement who serve and protect the citizens of New York City and New York State. Feel free to call PBA President Dan De Federicis to discuss this matter. Thank you for your time.
PBA Board of Directors