The Ramapo, New York Police Department revealed that its chief and lieutenant were met with opposition when they wanted to attend a parent-teacher organization-sponsored event — and it was because they refused to disarm for the affair.
What are the details?
A Saturday post on the Town of Ramapo Police Department's Facebook revealed that the department's chief and lieutenant — both of whom are in charge of local "school-based policing" — had plans to attend Saturday's Central Hudson Region PTA-sponsored breakfast.
The event was an "opportunity to have a direct conversation about our children's education and safety with [the New York State] Education leadership and legislators," according to a posting on the PTA's Facebook page.
The PTA org apparently had a different idea about police attendance, because according to the posting, the event moderator — and school teacher — told the chief that armed police were not permitted to attend the event, and that "armed uniformed police officers would make people uncomfortable."
The officers, after paying a $50 registration fee, made it clear to organizers that they had no plans to disarm for the event.
The moderator, after discussing the officers' refusal to disarm with "unknown persons" related to the event, eventually told the officers that they would be able to attend — but that the officers would be unable to speak at the event.
According to the department, the officers felt that they were clearly unwanted at the event after the moderator's two turns at apparently trying to dissuade them from coming.
As a result, they apparently changed their minds about attending and requested that their registration fee be refunded.
The officers received no such refund and left.
The post in its entirety read:
POLICE NOT WANTED. You will NOT believe this! This morning, the Chief of Ramapo Police, and his Command Staff LT in charge of our school-based policing, planned to attend an advertised Legislation/Education Breakfast featuring Commissioner Elia of the NYS Education Department. This was an ‘opportunity to have a direct conversation about our children’s education and SAFETY with NYS Education leadership and legislators’. The event was hosted by the Central Hudson Region PTA.
After accepting $50 from the Chief for our attendance, he was told by the moderator, also a school teacher, about not wanting armed police attending. She said that this was an educational event and that armed uniformed police officers would make people uncomfortable. The Chief of Police was taken back by what he was told and made it clear that RPD would not disarm to attend this event. After consultation with unknown persons inside the event, the moderator returned and advised that RPD could attend, but was quick to point out that we would not be allowed to speak. As it had already been made clear that RPD being there would make the attendees uncomfortable, it was obvious that RPD was not welcome at the event. Five minutes after paying, we simply asked for our registration fee back, and the moderator would not refund it. The Ramapo Police Department left the event.
RPD is extremely disappointed how we were treated as police officers attending a forum expected to include issues relating to student safety. We expect that our individual local [PTAs] do not feel the same way about us and will denounce what occurred. We want to be very clear to our community: The Ramapo Police Department is committed to the safety of your children in school. We will not let this incident dissuade us from forging forward in every possible way to enhance the safety of your children.
So what happened then?
Just six hours later, the department shared a second status revealing that they'd received an apology from the PTA.
The department shared screenshots of an apology issued by the executive director of the NYS PTA, which called the incident "unacceptable" and "not PTA policy."
The director added that the incident "will be handled with the seriousness it deserves," and noted that the police department — whom the org "fully support[s]" — is welcomed at any PTA-related events.
The department's post read:
Ramapo Police acknowledge the apology from the NYS PTA and their comments made related to our earlier post today.
The Chief of Police looks forward to speaking with the Executive Director of the NYS PTA about this matter as soon as possible. RPD will be sure to let you know how the meeting turns out.
RPD has spent the last 30 years working to keep our schools safe. From our Adopt-a-Cop program. D.A.R.E, Youth Academy, Youth Court, Intern Program and School Resource Officers, RPD has demonstrated our commitment to the children of the Town of Ramapo.
RPD Thanks the Town of Ramapo Town Board, East Ramapo Central School District and the Suffern Central School District for their unwavering support of our agency in this regard.