As the number of shooting incidents in Kingston in recent months reaches into the double digits, the president of the city’s police union released a statement claiming that officers have “lost all faith” in both the mayor and police chief, saying that they choose to “deceive the community” by minimizing the danger while refusing to fill budgeted positions in the police department.
The statement, sent to media outlets and posted to Facebook July 22, decried the official response with statements such as, “Calls involving gunfire in a city environment are among the most dangerous for our members and the public. Innocent children continually subjected to such disregard for human life will end up suffering the most.” Officers have “no trust” in Mayor Steven Noble, who is accused of going back on his word to “fill vacant, budgeted police positions if a need arose.” A report of gunfire on Washington Ave. that day marked the 10th such incident since May 22, according to the statement.
Bryan Aitken, president of the Kingston PBA, declined to answer any clarifying questions about the statement, saying that it was intended to stand on its own. Repeated attempts to contact Chief Egidio Tinti, as well as Noble, resulted in no responses as of Tuesday afternoon, July 28.
Many of those reacting to the Facebook post on the Kingston PBA page have been showing support for officers. Comments posted have placed blame on policy issues such as Kingston being declared a sanctuary city and a focus on building affordable housing, state laws such as the SAFE act (which placed additional restrictions on gun ownership) and bail reform, the release of some inmates from state prisons to manage the coronavirus cases within those walls, and the recent call by members of the Kingston Common Council for the mayor to be investigated through the state attorney general’s office for unspecified reasons. A markedly smaller number of people made comments suggesting other alternatives, such as putting more money toward social issues like mental health care, poverty, and housing as a means to reduce the underlying causes of crimes such as these.