Auxiliary Police Officers Seek Death Benefits for Fallen Members

by David Greene

Joined by famed attorney Norman Siegel and Queens Councilman Hiram Monserrate, members gathered on the steps of City Hall on Sunday, March 30, to protest the denial of federal death benefits to the families of Eugene Marshalik, 19, and Nicholas Pekearo, 28, who were killed during a confrontation with deranged gunman and Bronx resident David Garvin in Lower Manhattan, on March 14, 2007. Since the death of the two officers, all 4,500 auxiliary officers were issued bulletproof vests, but the city has taken away their nightsticks and have disbanded an all-volunteer Emergency Services Unit that assists the NYPD. William Rivera, the founder and President of the Auxiliary Supervisors Benevolent Association, who seeks changes to the 1951 law governing the NYPD's Auxiliary force, stated, “It is sad that when you assault an auxiliary police officer it's a misdemeanor, but when you assault a bus driver it's a felony.” Rivera continued, “We go on patrol for free, we don't cost the city a dime, yet when we ask for something or we need something that's critical that we ask for, we get a closed door and no communication or note of explanation.” Siegel then stated, “It's a crying shame that the Department of Justice has myopically decided to interpret the regulations that were set fourth by Congress in 2003, to help the people who are auxiliary police officers and the law enforcement people throughout this nation.” Siegel added, “It appears to me that Garvin and Marshalik are entitled to the death benefits… it's not only about money, it's also about giving these people respect, dignity and our thanks.” City Councilman Hiram Monserrate of the 21st Council District in Queens, told those in attendance, “We in the City of New York are in a safer place because of auxiliary police officers.” Monserrate added, “On September 11th, when the city faced its greatest crisis, there were thousands of auxiliary police officers that rose to the occasion. They are an important part of our security and (they) need to be treated better”. PHOTO 3: Attorney Norman Siegel joins members of the NYPD's Auxiliary Police Department on the steps of City Hall. –Photo by David Greene

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