The Chief

January 14, 2000


Lynch: Pay an Issue in Using Heart Devices

The Police Department's introduction of a pilot defibrillator program, in which the lifesaving electric shock devices have been introduced in eight precincts around the city, underscores the need for increased pay for cops, the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association said.

Over 900 Police Officers have been trained to use the defibrillators, which are deployed in patrol cars in Midtown South and the 23rd Precinct in Manhattan; the 60th and 75th in Brooklyn; the 43rd Precinct in The Bronx; the 109th and 113th in Queens; and the 122nd in Staten Island.

Revives the Heart

The devices, which attach by electrodes to an heart attack victim's chest, both diagnose the patient's medical condition and deliver a shock to revive the heart beat when required.

Officers assigned to the department's Emergency Services Unit are already given certification courses in defibrillating patients, and rookies at the Police Academy are also being trained in the use of the device.

"We go out there to do our job, and part of the job is saving lives," said PBA President Patrick J. Lynch. "We do expect to get paid for it, however."

While the introduction of the devices in Fire Department engine companies in 1995 met with some resistance from rank-and-file firefighters, the Uniformed Firefighters' Association two years ago was able to use the added duties associated with it to win a salary increase of as much as $1,500 for its members working as Certified first Responders in medical emergencies.

The bonus provoked the ire of the PBA leadership at the time, which charged that the award effectively broke a century-old parity between firefighters and cops.

Mr. Lynch indicated that the PBA will push in the upcoming round of bargaining for Police Officers to be similarly compensated. "This is part of an increased workload, which involves both life-threatening situations and life-saving ones," he said. "It will strengthen our argument."