NEW YORK: The Patrolman’s Benevolent Association of New York City has turned to PR not only to tweak public perception of the city’s officers, but also to foster better communication between the labor group and its members.
NEW YORK: The Patrolman’s Benevolent Association of New York City
has turned to PR not only to tweak public perception of the city’s
officers, but also to foster better communication between the labor
group and its members.
The organization, which represents 27,000 police officers, earlier this
month awarded Dan Klores Associates (DKA) a one-year, dollars 10,000 per
month contract for image enhancement, crisis communications and media
The assignment comes in the wake of PBA members electing their first new
board in 18 years - a contentious process that saw a group of insurgents
challenge and eventually triumph over the organization’s existing
While DKA had advised the insurgents in the months leading up to their
election, the awarding of the PR business was an open process during
which the PBA advertised for PR firms.
DKA SVP Vito A. Turso said the agency will attempt to re-define ’the
public image of the New York City officer as portrayed by their union.’
Indeed, if there’s any group that may need a PR boost, it’s New York
Despite statistics showing that crime has decreased across the board and
an overall perception that the city is safer than any time since the
1960s, the NYPD is still saddled with an image of being ’above the law’
Last February, Amadou Diallo, an African immigrant, was killed by four
white police officers who mistakenly thought he had a gun. The officers,
who fired 41 shots and hit Diallo 19 times, have been charged with
second-degree murder and will be tried starting on January 3.
Additionally, the department’s image is still feeling the aftereffects
of an 1997 incident in which officer Justin Volpe brutalized crime
suspect Abner Louima as others reportedly looked on. A recently
concluded criminal trial saw only one of the participants convicted,
with Volpe changing his plea to guilty during the proceedings.
Turso said these incidents are obviously not indicative of the force as
a whole, which he believes has been misrepresented over the years.
’Crime is down - who got it there?’ he asked rhetorically.
He added that the new PBA leadership will continue to increase
interaction with its members, a strategy born during the days leading up
to their election. The old board, Turso claimed, rarely bothered to
communicate with the officers it purported to represent.