Each week, the Times Union newspaper of Albany prints a feature called “Capitol Profile” with influential government officials and individuals making a difference in the Capital Region. This week, the profile featured PBA President Dan De Federicis. The story is as follows:
Dan De Federicis
First published: Monday, May 29, 2006
President of New York State Troopers Police Benevolent Association
Personal: Single, in the process of buying a home in Saratoga Springs.
Hobbies: Gym workouts, running and rockabilly music. Loves to watch local band the Lustre Kings.
Most recent book read: Harry Potter series.
What he does: The labor union represents 6,000 active and retired State Police troopers and supervisors. "My job is to do whatever it takes to fight for the rights, benefits and, most importantly, the well-being of my troopers."
How he got there: "I was simply a rank and file union member from Buffalo with a law degree and had passionate beliefs about how a union should be run. I blasted out several critical e-mails about our union at the time. … Despite my initial reluctance, the membership elected me president."
What is the current priority of the PBA: "The job of a trooper is so dangerous and getting even more so. Two state troopers, Andy Sperr and Craig Todeschini, were killed in the last 3 months. This union will not rest until we ensure that our troopers have the best equipment, training and support possible."
Is it difficult representing the interests of troopers when you must take on headquarters?
"When you’re fighting for what you know is right, it comes from both the heart and the gut. You have adrenaline, you have energy — it just comes out naturally and the real difficulty is holding back when you may have to be a little more political or tactical. It’s more instinct than methodical procedure — and you are going full speed ahead. Certain entities have accused this union of being radical. That puts a smile on my face because, while they are wrong, they are confirming to me that we are effective and are getting their attention."
How has the job of trooper changed in the last 30 years?
"A trooper who retired 30 years ago wouldn’t recognize the job today. Our PBA members are helping police in inner cities, including New York City, Albany, Schenectady and Troy, and we even had hundreds of New York troopers go to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Our members use cutting edge technology to fight crime, and we’re in the front lines in the war on terrorism. …The job is getting much more complicated and dangerous."
What is the most important role of the PBA?
"To do whatever it takes to protect our members and ensure they get home safely to their families every night."
Was there a time when the PBA would not endorse political candidates, and has that changed?
We are probably most proud of the fact that not only did we decide to endorse candidates, but we also actively help these candidates. The job is too dangerous and the stakes too high for us not to get involved directly with political issues. We strongly support candidates who understand the needs of our troopers. We endorsed George Pataki four years ago, and we recently endorsed Eliot Spitzer for governor. We will continue to actively help him during this campaign."
What is the most important civil lawsuit pending that affects troopers?
"We have several lawsuits against the Division of State Police that have the same basic theme, which is, that our troopers are entitled to basic constitutional rights and protections."
What would be your advice to a young person considering a career with NYSP or in law enforcement?
"Work hard, keep your nose clean, because bad things will come back to haunt you, and go to college. … But don’t feel you have to major in criminal justice to prepare for a law enforcement career. We need a varied group of entrants into this field with educational backgrounds in science, computers, foreign languages and even liberal arts."
— Brendan Lyons