The Rye PBA and its president Gabe Caputo has penned an open letter to the Mayor and Rye City Council, taking Councilmember Pam Tarlow to task for comments made last week during a Police Review Committee public listening session.
In the letter, Caputo condemns Tarlow’s comments as “disturbing”, “indicative of implicit bias” and “offensive”. The PBA is calling for Tarlow to rescind her statement and apologize.
By The Rye PBA, Gabe Caputo, president
Dear Mayor Cohn and members of the City Council,
I am writing to you on behalf of the men and woman of the City of Rye Police Association in response to disturbing comments that Councilmember Pamela Tarlow’s comments made during the Listening Police Reform forum held last Thursday night.
During that meeting Councilmember Tarlow stated her family sits and jokes as the Rye Police stops people for walking while being black. This statement alone is indicative of implicit bias. To make the insinuation as a sitting Councilmember that the officers of the Rye Police Department target individuals based on the color of their skin is offensive and not supported by facts. To label our officers as racist is disgusting and to joke about it is even more offensive. As a member of the Police Department and PBA President I take great pride in the diversity we have as a department. I have never seen a member of our department enforce anything related to this offensive, racist term Councilmember Tarlow coined walking while black. We are trained observers who look for criminal activities and quality of life matter for the residence of the City of Rye and their property. We do NOT and never have enforced things because of the color of someone’s skin. What fact or research does Councilmember Tarlow have to back up her above statement? If she has actual facts, then she should report it immediately to the Commissioner of Public Safety. If she has no specific facts of wrong doing then this is an arrogant statement to make as a sitting member of the City Council. It is statements like this that inflame the distrust and anger our society has today, as well as, further divide the relationship between citizens and police. Unsupported statements and generalizations like these are degrading to the men and woman who proudly serve and protect the City of Rye. Councilmember Tarlow made these unsubstantiated statements in a public forum and should publicly withdrawal her statement, with an apology to the officers of the department, as well as, the residence of Rye. How can the officers of the department know that any decision she is involved in regarding the police department is not tainted with this bias? Statement like this hold more weight and consequences coming from a Councilmember than it does Rye resident Tarlow. These statements made by a sitting Councilmember could be perceived as factual coming from a person of authority.
On that same public meeting call Councilmember Tarlow also made a comment about officers of the department chasing persons involved in property crimes. She further stated that some jurisdictions do not pursue persons involved in property crimes. What department locally does not pursue property crimes? The City Council has oversite when it comes to policies and procedures. Is it the Councils position to amend our arrest/ pursuit policy to reflect Councilmember Tarlow’s view expressed publicly? Should we not pursue individuals involved in property crime? Sadly, to date 5 stolen cars this year have been confirmed used in shooting in other jurisdictions resulting in death and serious physical injury. Our own officers were fired upon by persons from these vehicles.
I trust Mr. Mayor and Councilmembers you do not share the same sentiments that were expressed publicly last week. I am asking you the Mayor and City Councilmembers to address this derogatory and not factual statement made by your fellow Councilmember. I would ask that Councilmember Tarlow publicly rescind her statement and apologize to the men and woman of the City of Rye Police Department.
The Rye PBA, Gabe Caputo, president