New York’s Finest will be taking aim at cop-hating politicians, according to new union boss Patrick Hendry, who vowed to The Post to stem the tide of cops fleeing the force.
“If they want our police officers to be active on the streets and do our jobs, which we believe is impossible right now, they have to change what’s going on and have to change the atmosphere,” said Hendry, who takes the reins of the Police Benevolent Association today.
He takes over for longtime president Pat Lynch, a fierce fighter who retired in June after leading the powerful union for nearly 25 years.
“The laws have to change and we have to start supporting police officers,” Hendry told The Post in an exclusive sitdown.
Hendry, 51, was talking in part about bail laws set in Albany that see many criminals released back into the streets shortly after they’re arrested, along with the City Council chokehold ban that makes it illegal for police officers to put pressure on suspects’ backs during arrests.
Hendry took some credit for the defeat of Democratic City Councilman Charles Barron in Tuesday’s primary election — after the PBA ran a series of ads attacking his anti-cop rhetoric.
The union parked a flashing billboard truck on a street in Barron’s Brooklyn district before the election that read: “Your City Council member wants to defund the police. Fewer cops, more crime, less safety.”
The PBA sought to oust Barron in part because he helped block a bill that would have boosted cops’ pensions when they remained on the job for 25 or 30 years.
The bill’s goal was to retain more experienced cops – who have been retiring in droves.
Hendry, who frequently goes to stationhouse roll calls where cops get their marching orders, implores his members to vote for politicians who support them.
“It doesn’t matter whether you’re Republican, Democrat, Independent,” Hendry tells them. “It’s about our profession. It’s about our livelihood.
“We want to become a political force so that the politicians know that if you’re not gonna support us, we’re gonna vote you out,” he said.
About 55% of the union’s 21,866 members live in the city.
Hendry, whose parents immigrated from Ireland, grew up in Queens Village and decided at 20 to join the NYPD, graduating from the Academy in 1994.
“In my house, it was always about hard work and doing the right thing by people,” he said. “I wanted to help people, to make a difference.”
He started his career in the Bronx’s 46th Precinct and later worked in the 103rd in Queens.
But as a young cop with a wife who was a teacher he learned how difficult raising children could be for working parents.
Hendry would drive to the Queens school where his wife worked “with screaming kids in the car” and wait for her to get done for the day.
She would then drive the kids home in that car and he would take her car to work, he said.
“That’s what’s going on on a daily basis,” Hendry said of his officers.
He’s hoping to provide his members with universal paid parental leave, which would give male cops paternity leave if they want it and pump up the benefits that moms receive.
Expanding a pilot program that gives cops longer shifts with more days off is also on Hendry’s wish list.
Even though the PBA won raises in its April contract — retroactive to 2017 and going through 2025, ranging from 2.25% a year to 4% — Hendry plans to fight for more money for his cops.
“We still have police officers who work the same streets who get paid more than us,” he said.
“That’s state troopers. That’s the Port Authority. Our goal is to be the highest paid in this city — and eventually, one day, the highest paid in the country.”