Agree to communicate more often
Beacon officials and representatives of the union that represents Beacon’s police officers met twice over the past weekend to iron out their differences.
Mayor Lee Kyriacou and City Administrator Anthony Ruggiero met with Officer Michael Confield and other members of the Beacon Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association union on Friday (July 24) and Sunday (July 26) for what was described as “lengthy open and productive conversations.”
In a joint statement issued on July 27, they announced their plan to “to communicate regularly and productively on issues affecting police, the city and the community.”
Earlier this month, the union was critical of the major when he named a retired Beacon police lieutenant as the interim chief for up to 90 days following the retirement of Kevin Junjulas. It also objected to what it characterized as the City Council’s lack of response to calls to “defund the police.”
The mayor, in response, said he was “deeply disappointed by the approach of the police union, which has resorted to intimidation and escalation in a highly charged environment — where the community-building approach should be outreach and dialogue,” Kyriacou said. “Other than a statement from the PBA that I offered to read at a protest, I have heard nothing from them.”
The tone of the joint statement issued on Monday was more conciliatory.
“Our conversations were very productive,” Confield said. “We appreciate the mayor’s and administrator’s willingness to hear our concerns, and look forward to ensuring that everyone is heard in the ongoing process of improving police-community relations.”
Kyriacou added: “I truly appreciate and applaud the PBA for reaching out and working together to close the communication gap. All of us agreed that we should have reached out sooner, and that going forward, the communication will be frequent and open.
“Each time I greet an officer, my first words are ‘Thank you’ and more recently, ‘I appreciate the difficult situation you are in.’ That support continues unabated.”