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Staying safe

Walking down the street we observe...

There is a classification of business considered a necessity but seldom brought up when discussing specific types of business. Nonetheless, it appears on a regular basis during our routine rounds of daily chores.

Walking down the street we observe sliding sheet protectors over storefront and office windows. Passing residential housing we see bars with covered windows and doors, and we are awakened in the middle of the night by alarms set off on parked vehicles.

The business of protective security is a hallmark in our society, and it is becoming more sophisticated every day as it extends into the computerized arena. But without proper support, all this finesse is nothing more than a beware-of-dog sign, with all bark and no bite.

To put some real teeth into supporting this front line of defense requires a force composed of high morale from our Police and Fire departments. Do we have it? Let’s look at what’s doing at City Hall.

Cops and firefighters have been protesting their grade of pay for quite some time. City Hall has dodged the bullets (no pun intended) for a considerable amount of time but has been paying the price in the reduction of an experienced personnel that gets replaced by an inexperienced and less proficient cadre. And why?

City Hall has its priorities cockeyed. New York’s Finest are expected to enter into unknown dangerous areas, to make split decisions before pulling any weapon and even to engage in hand-to-hand combat by wrestling a perpetrator to the ground who has a knife or other various weapon.

New York’s Bravest are expected to enter burning buildings, heavily smoke-infested enclosures, and climb extensively high ladders with the excellent possibility of carrying out someone weighing more than themselves. And this just scrapes the surface of what is expected from our heroic cops and firefighters. And what do they get paid?

With modest variations, both departments enter at $34,500 a year with 260 scheduled workdays, which averages out to 2,080 hours annually. Now let’s compare. School teachers, for instance, work an approximate 180 days a year at seven hours daily. That averages to 1,260 hours annually. Their annual starting salary is $39,000. That’s 13 percent higher than the starting pay of our Bravest and Finest.

If we want quality security and personnel in Queens as well as citywide it’s time we take care of the two groups we should be holding dear to us — our cops and firefighters. So how’s protective security doing for business? If this problem is recognized and addressed properly we will keep up to speed, which is a necessity.

Joe Palumbo is the fund manager for The Palco Group Inc., an investment company, and can be reached at or 718-461-8317.

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