Members Of The Public And Workers Endure Cruel, Inhuman Treatment In Monticello Village Lock-Up And Police Station Due To Mayor/Manager's Negligence
It has come to my attention that the Village of Monticello Police Department is in urgent need of repairs to an air-conditioner compressor which is estimated to cost in the neighborhood of $2,500. The Mayor has personally told me, as he has also told the police, that they will have to suffer this unnecessary heat because "there is no money" to maintain the building's infrastructure.
This is a clear-cut human rights issue, not just a labor issue (though it is that too). Public servants who risk their lives to protect the public deserve respect and decent working conditions.
As a Village Trustee, I go to Village Hall and the police station nearly every day. Yesterday (June 1st) three people were confined in the cells. All three were young and seemed in good health, but they were literally begging for water due to the excess heat. Police supervisors go out of their way to see to it that they get cold water every half hour, but officers must answer a high volume of calls from the community all day long.
I have personally witnessed the unbearable heat in the Village lock-up, and am honestly shocked. Monticello taxpayers deserve better. Such of atrocities are what third-world countries do to their prisoners.
Police routinely detain subjects being considered for possible charges, sometimes forcibly holding them many hours for a judge to arraign them and tell them their rights. But even aside from the presumption of innocence promised to anyone who has not been convicted, crime victims are interviewed there, as well as witnesses, and anyone else seeking information or services from the police.
If the Board of Trustees will not authorize the emergency repairs that are needed to fix the air-conditioner's compressor, and do whatever else is needed to allow for humane treatment of police and members of the public at the police station, at this Tuesday night's board meeting, I will personally elevate the complaint to the NYS Department of Health NYS Department of Labor NYS Division of Human Rights, Division of Criminal Justice Services, and NYS Commission of Corrections, US Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and/or any other agency or organization that will listen and intervene. It is so bad, I am not willing to let this issue go until it is resolved.
Present physical conditions in the Monticello lock-up and police station are so outrageous that I remind the Mayor/Acting Manager and anyone who votes against this urgently needed maintenance that they may well be facing yet another State and/or Federal investigation as a result.
"There's no money" is a feeble excuse for physically abusing workers and members of the public in this manner. I may have "just one vote" on the Board of Trustees, amid a majority who either don't care or blindly follow someone else's lead, but I make it a practice to make my one vote, and my voice, count. I am not playing, and I will tolerate no delay.
Compulsory detention in deplorable conditions, whether they are being questioned in a sweltering squad room or detained in 92-degree Village lock-up is a violation of the Constitution's prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. Board members who vote against this issue should consider advising their own private insurance carriers that they may be personally sued for wrongful death or malfeasance in office if, for example, an intoxicated or otherwise medically compromised person suffers a stroke or heart attack due to being confined in what amounts to an oven.
Have they no decency?
The public will not stand for such abuses, and neither will I, especially at a time when the Mayor and his cronies seem willing to drain every last dollar of the Village's reserve accounts to pay to their criminal defense team and Village's "special counsel" law firm in Rockland County. The Mayor himself is about to go to trial for hitting a Monticello police officer last summer, charged with Obstructing Government Administration. Is his present behavior some sort of pay-back for his own repeated run-ins with the law?
Mayor Jenkins and others on the Board of Trustees should ask themselves how they would feel about a family member or loved one being chained to a bench in a 92-degree room, or a victim of domestic violence or other violent crime being forced to endure further abuse because the Mayor makes using public funds to pay his lawyer a higher priority than keeping the public safe from crime.
The public is invited to attend this Tuesday's regular meeting of the Board of Trustees, scheduled for Tuesday evening, June 4, 2013, at 7:00 PM, on the second floor of Village Hall, 2 Pleasant Street.
Ironically, the room where the Village Board holds session has a fully operational air-conditioner. Please attend if you live, work, or pay taxes in Monticello, or even if you just want to come to speak on behalf of human rights.