CT cops speaking out against layoffs - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

CT cops speaking out against layoffs

NEW HAVEN, CT (CNN) - In times of trouble, people call the police, but there are now fewer cops available to answer that call in one Connecticut town, and on Thursday they were letting their complaints be heard.

The city of New Haven has laid off 16 police officers. Mayor John DeStefano says it was a difficult cost-cutting measure, but the men and women in uniform don't see it that way.

"That's baloney," said Frank Lombardi, who is the vice president of the New Haven police union. "There's no need for any cop to be laid off. We stepped up to the plate, and the city is saying no? That's baloney!"

But Destefano says while he dreaded the action, it should not come as a surprise, as he has warned all unions of the financial difficulties facing the city.

Destefano said the force is the largest the city has had since 2002, when they had 435.

"Statements that citizens are unsafe, statements that they ought to arm themselves, about shootings galleries, they are inaccurate, they are irresponsible, they are beneath those that make them," Destefano said. "They aim clearly to frighten and intimidate."

The 16 officers turned in their guns and badges Thursday afternoon, and the union says the fight with the mayor is just beginning.

Union President Louis Cavaliere said the mayor dismissed an offer to keep the laid-off cops on the job for a few more months so the union and the city could work out a solution to save the money it needs.

One veteran cop says many older officers would be willing to retire if it would allow the city to avoid layoffs.

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