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Response to deadly tornadoes in Kentucky is latest example of PBANYS members helping disaster victims across US
Guest Editorial by the Police Benevolent Association of New York State
In the wake of a deadly series of tornadoes that devastated the Midwest, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul dispatched specialized rescue personnel to answer the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s call for assistance – and New York State Forest Rangers, environmental conservation officers and state Park Police are once again part of the elite cadre of first responder and law enforcement assets that deployed this past weekend for a two-week rotation that will have them assisting victims of the Kentucky tornadoes into the new year.
The past year has seen PBA of New York State members deploy in response to natural disasters and extreme weather events not only within New York state, but coast to coast as well. Hochul has made these highly trained personnel available to other governors as needed and when requested. The latest deployment of a New York state incident management team includes four state forest rangers, a Park Police officer and an environmental conservation officer who all possess extensive training and experience in responding to disasters.
NYS Police Benevolent Association President and Park Police Sergeants Director Manny Vilar stated, “The PBA of New York State is extremely proud of our members who have answered the call to help their fellow Americans at a time when many have lost everything including loved ones. The loss of life and property weighs heavily on the impacted communities, especially during a season of joy and celebration centered around family. Our members have dedicated their lives to serving and protecting their fellow citizens, and that doesn’t stop at a border during times of disaster and suffering. We thank Gov. Hochul for recognizing the capability our members bring to the table, and for the opportunity to give back and ease that suffering.”
The PBANYS members deployed as part of Hochul’s incident management team are part of a far-larger group of expert first responders and recovery specialists that include New York State Homeland Security and Emergency Services, New York State Police, state Department of Transportation, state Thruway Authority, state Office of Information Technology, Erie County Sheriff’s deputies and Montgomery County Emergency Management staff. The incident management team deployed to Graves, Hopkins and Marshall counties in Kentucky to support their county emergency operations offices.
Established in 2011, the Police Benevolent Association of New York State is a law enforcement labor union representing the interests of approximately 1,200 members of the New York State Agency Police Services Unit (APSU). The PBA of New York State is the exclusive bargaining agent for the New York State University (SUNY) Police, the New York State Environmental Conservation Police, the New York State Park Police, and the New York State Forest Rangers. Our members police and protect New York state’s public universities and colleges; state parks and historic sites; and they enforce state laws and protect our lands and forests and ensure environmental safety and quality throughout the state.