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New London police run errands for ‘defund’ council

I literally nearly fell off my chair in the studio last week when New London Police Union President Todd Lynch uncorked information so outrageous I thought he was joking. Honestly, I wobbled and laughed, luckily catching myself on the console before crashing face-first to the floor. It took me a full three minutes of on-air radio time before Lynch convinced me this was not his attempt at comedy.

With a straight-face, he explained that the New London Police Department is required to hand deliver the “city package” at least once every two weeks on the Friday before upcoming council meetings.

A “city package” is essentially the agenda for any impending council meeting — filled with every nugget of vital intelligence the seven New London city councilpersons will require for an informed, successful gathering. This includes, but is not limited to, the previous session’s minutes, all background and supporting material that the members, the law director and other select committee folks will need for the specific upcoming meeting. Without this fundamentally critical assortment of details, New London leadership would be lost. Or so it seems.

The packages are hand delivered and distribution can typically take a police officer (or officers) up to 90 minutes to complete. Afterwards, the officer or officers must generate a dispatch call and close out in order to document the parcels were delivered. Oh, and “hand-delivered” means that the packages MUST be placed in the “hand” of the recipient and not left in mailboxes, front stoops, porches, or the council’s secret-spy compartments.

If the addressee is not at his/her residence, police must make every attempt to track down the council member. In this context, rather than fighting crime and helping keep the city safe, the city-package officer dispatched might head out in hot pursuit to find the councilor wherever he or she might be. The beach? A restaurant or local tavern? Proctologist? Taco Bell drive-through? Casino? Wherever!

Oh, and additional deliveries are required by the patrolman if ancillary meetings are added to the council schedule.

These packages are without doubt important, but are they worthy of an armed escort? It would appear the council members have a slightly elevated sense of self-worth, but that fact is not unique to the current councilors. In fact, according to local patrol officers, the NLPD has held the responsibility of delivering “the package” for at least three decades. Unless there's information relevant to national security, why are the overworked and under-appreciated men and women of the NLPD compelled to mutate into glorified UPS drivers?

Once the envelope is delivered the suspense and intrigue begins. I imagine a slowly spinning ceiling fan casting a shadow in a poorly lit Bank Street apartment. The theme music from "Mission Impossible" plays in menacing fashion while, in an all-too-close close up, a sweaty city council member, sucking on a half-lit Marlborough, struggles nervously to open their packet.

An untraceable female voice sedately divulges instructions. “Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to systematically defund and dismantle the New London Police Department. You will use every asset at your disposal to undermine law enforcement to give the illusion that the police are the enemy. If detected, the mayor will disavow all knowledge of said operation. This message will self-destruct in 5-4-3-2- BOOM!"

The council has begun its mission by repealing the ordinance calling for a minimum of 80 officers, a move since challenged by a petition.

The argument that the police provide a certain sense of security on these deliveries has validity, but we aren’t talking about the launch codes for NORAD. This is and always has been a power trip and a gentle stroke of egos. Maybe it’s a simple mechanism for minimizing police authority.

I'm surprised cops aren't asked to mow the councilors’ yards, walk their dogs, run to the drugstore for a prescription, or take council members recyclables to the street. And, in all fairness, it seems that recently some of the city council members are finally recognizing we live in the 21st century and are now getting their city packages dispatched through email. (I just hope they are not using the same servers as Hillary Clinton).

Let's make electronic distribution mandatory.

Cops are not mail or delivery personnel and should not be treated as such. Asking the highly trained men and women of the NLPD to double as Seinfeld's "Newman" is a waste of manpower.

Lee Elci is the morning host for 94.9 News Now radio, a station that provides "Stimulating Talk" with a conservative bent.



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