Late Friday night the John E. Creedon Police Benevolent Association, the Utica Police union, issued a statement responding to the City’s suspension of Sgt. Samuel Geddes and the reported threat of a “sick out”.
Friday morning, Mayor Robert Palmieri announced that Police Sgt. Geddes had been suspended without pay for his involvement during a call in August.
Friday afternoon, the mayor issued another release stating that, “some members of the Department abandoned their shift and several others called-in sick for future shifts.” The release stated that the action had been threatened by the PBA.
The following email was sent to the media Friday night:
|Subject: Utica PBA Response to 9/25/2020 Events|
This email is in response to the release issued by the City of Utica on today’s date. The John E. Creedon Utica PBA is certainly aware that a number of officers utilized sick time for their shifts on September 25th, however at no time was this a PBA directed activity or sanctioned call out as some have stated. Our duty to our profession and the citizens of City of Utica is every member’s number one priority. Additionally at no time was Police coverage or public safety substantially effected for our citizens, businesses, for those within the city. We too appreciate the immediate assistance of Oneida County Sheriff’s Department in ensuring the safety of all in Utica.
The PBA recognizes that a process exists where officer misconduct has been alleged. We have a contractual and legal obligation to defend our members and ensure due process for their rights during this process.
We understand that the administration may take a stance on particular discipline, and we have avenues in which to ensure that our member’s rights are upheld throughout the process up to and including an arbitration hearing. Chief Mark Williams has always been an exceptional leader whom the membership respects and values as our Chief. While disagreements may exist, we understand his position as the head of the department and the difficult choices he has to make. Viewpoints may differ, however mutual respect has gone a long way in garnering a positive working relationship.
We want to make it very clear that we are not against accountability and transparency, but is our duty to ensure that our members have the representation they are entitled to. All we seek is fairness and that our members not be unduly publicly judged prior to the conclusion of an investigation.