A caravan of Mount Pleasant residents traveled through a portion of the town last Saturday afternoon in support of the police, who participants contended have been unfairly maligned while their jobs have been made increasingly difficult.
Several dozen vehicles, most with American flags, were part of the Red, White and Blue car parade which made the journey from Broadway Field in Hawthorne to the Mount Pleasant Community Center in Valhalla. After arriving at the community center there was an outdoor celebration of law enforcement, which included several speakers, music and food.
Town resident Kristen Palamara said she organized the event to demonstrate how much the Mount Pleasant Police Department is appreciated and to combat what she described as the growing trend of hateful messages directed toward law enforcement on social media.
“I don’t like hate at all,” Palamara said. “It’s affecting my family personally and all the people around me, and this community has never been that way, and I want to try and do something to bring us back together and support our police department. They do a lot for us, our fire department, everybody who works so hard for us.”
Steve Kardian, who spent 26 years with the Mount Pleasant Police Department and also worked for the NYPD’s Department of Investigation and the U.S. Marshals Service, said the overwhelming number of police officers serve admirably and become part of the community they work for. They also make great sacrifices to do their job.
However, the backlash against cops and the prohibition of certain maneuvers, including putting pressure on an offender’s diaphragm, puts officers at risk, he said. That has contributed toward a skyrocketing retirement rate, particularly for larger departments such as New York City, Kardian said.
“You’re taking the officers that train the next generation, they’re leaving and it’s going to harm the next generation (of police),” he said. “It’s going to harm them because you have all this experience. Believe me, if you have 20 years in law enforcement, you’ve seen everything, and unfortunately, it’s going to affect our future generations.”
The rally had political overtones with some of the more than 100 people in attendance carrying Trump 2020 flags and several wearing Make America Great Again baseball caps.
Former county executive Rob Astorino, who is running for the 40th State Senate District, blasted Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state legislature, including his opponent, Democratic incumbent Peter Harckham, for supporting the No Cash Bail Law.
He called it a “very dangerous law” because suspects in many burglaries, robberies and grand larcenies are now typically released pending a court date. Astorino said he would work to get the law repealed if elected.
“So instead of talking about de-funding the police, we should be talking about defending the police,” Astorino said.
Kardian also said that the Black Lives Matter movement and Antifa has also contributed to police morale problems.
“They want you to believe that just because someone wears a uniform that he or she is a racist and that couldn’t be further from the truth,” Kardian said.
Mount Pleasant Supervisor Carl Fulgenzi, whose father was a police officer and whose son is currently a member of the NYPD, said he is keenly aware of the challenges the police face. They put their lives on the line every day they put on the uniform, he said.
“That’s so important that we remember that and we teach our children and our grandchildren how important it is to support our police officers,” Fulgenzi said.