YPD cautions parents of New Haven crime

“Yale and its host city, New Haven, can at times be a dangerous place,” warned Yale police officers as they canvassed the campus this weekend.

Around 50 YPD officers handed out roughly 1,000 paper leaflets over Parents’ Weekend to garner support for ongoing contract negotiations with the University, said Yale Police Department Union President Rich Simons. The Yale Police Benevolent Association and the union quote 12 headlines from articles in the New Haven Register and the News in the leaflets that highlight recent notable crimes such as this September’s “Gunfight Breaks Out on College Street” and includes the somber headline of last year, “Human Remains Believed to be Annie Le Found.” Not only did the pamphlet list recent attention-grabbing crimes, but it also emphasized the YPD’s role in keeping the students safe from the city’s dangers and asked for support in its contract negotiations.

In a letter in the leaflets, Simons writes that “the primary mission of [the YPD] is to protect Yale’s students, faculty and community” and that the YPBA “respectfully request your [parents’ and students’] support in our quest to achieve a fair and equitable contract settlement.”

The YPBA printed the leaflets in preparation for parents weekend, Simons said in an interview Monday, to inform the parents that the officers in charge of student safety were in the middle of contract negotiations.

He added that he believed parents were generally receptive to the YPBA goal of finalizing a new agreement with Yale.

University Spokesman Tom Conroy said in an e-mail that Yale was not aware of any leafletting during family weekend by the union. For its part, Conroy said the Yale administration looks forward to the resolution of negotiations.

He said that the University administrators “deeply respect and appreciate the work that the women and men of the Yale Police Department perform every day to keep the Yale community and campus safe.”

Simons said negotiations for a new contract began this February, and that even though there have been about 50 negotiation sessions thus far, the parties have only reached two small, tentative agreements. He said he could not provide any more details due to ongoing discussions.

“All we want is a fair contract,” Simons said. “We’re asking for the basic stuff.”

The University has been engaged in good-faith negotiations with the YPBA for many months, Conroy said. The two parties recently agreed to a contract extension that allows negotiations to continue, he added.

Simons said that there were several incidents in which visiting parents confused the YPD for the New Haven Police Department and castigated them for involvement in the Oct. 2 raid on Elevate, during which five students were arrested.

Despite some confusion, Simons said he believed the majority of parents understood that the union was trying to raise awareness of contract negotiations.

The last YPBA contract negotiations took place in 2002, and took one-and-a half years to resolve, he said.

The YPBA is an independent, unaffiliated union that was created in 1988.

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