The Pope Heads to NY – Off Duty Cops Told to Disarm for Papal Events

... despite a departmental policy ordering officers to be armed at all times in New York City.

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With the Pope in town, many New Yorkers are looking forward to seeing the pontiff. However, members of the NYPD are being told to disarm if they want to see His Holiness.  This is despite a departmental policy ordering all officers to be armed at all times in New York City, on duty and off.

And the officers aren’t exactly thrilled by this.

From the New York Post:

Off-duty cops who plan to see the pope during his tour of the Big Apple ​are being warned to leave their guns at home — or face being ​sent away and ​reprimanded by NYPD brass, police officials warned in a memo.

“All members of the service who plan to attend a papal event while off-duty are hereby advised that firearms will not be permitted,” read a message sent to police officers on Wednesday.

“Any member with a firearm will be excluded from the event.”

Despite ​heightened concerns about an assassination ​​attempt​ or act of terror​, off-duty cops will ultimately have to abide by the very same rules that civilians are asked to — a move that is not sitting well with members of the force.

“This is our city and we should be able to carry,” a police source said, describing the policy as “very offensive.”

“God forbid something happens,” he explained. “You’re going against the patrol guide which says you’re required to be armed at all times while in New York City. ​If​ something bad happens and you’re not armed, you’re not able to protect yourself, your family, friends and the public. You have the leader of the biggest religion in the world and the potential for violence is there. I’d like to be able to protect myself if something, God forbid, does happen.”

Another source added, “​I​​n cases like this, it’s always better to have your gun and not need it, than to not have your gun and need it. Obviously, in the case of the pope, we’re all worried about an assassination attempt.

​”​It would be better to have a professional NYPD cop with his sidearm because that adds another layer of security for the pope. We want to protect him in every shape or form. If a cop is walking to one of the events and sees something and needs to engage with his weapon, you’re going to want that gun on you.”

Oddly enough, that comment about having and not needing?  Yeah, that’s how a lot of private citizens feel about carrying a firearm.

The truth is, a lot of the arguments officers make sound very familiar to anyone who has followed the gun rights movement through the years.  Private citizens, the people New York has effectively disarmed, often seek to simply protect themselves and their families should something bad happen.  However, they’re not permitted to do so in some communities.

Now, off duty NYPD officers are getting a taste of that medicine… and they don’t like it a bit.

Photo Credit: IIP Photo Archive/flikr


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