The Great American Outdoor Show is coming to Harrisburgh, PA, but off-duty Harrisburgh Police won’t be providing security for the first time in more than twenty years because the anti-gun, NRA-hating mayor of the city, Eric Papenfuse, is refusing to let officers work the event.
The police are not amused, and have filed a $95,000 lawsuit against the city. The mayor is now whining that the lawsuit isn’t fair.
Papenfuse called the grievance, “utterly unmerited.”
“It shows an unfortunate disconnect between some of the longstanding union activists and the constituents they are sworn to protect and serve,” he said.
The grievance filed Jan. 12 will go through several internal steps before an independent arbitration officer hears the case. The process could take several months.
If the city loses, it could be costly.
The city already gave up $10,000 in fees that it would have received from the officers’ pay from the NRA. Instead, the city could be looking at paying $95,000 to officers for not working.
Jason Brinker, the police union president, said he couldn’t comment on the grievance but he noted that officers looked forward to the annual off-duty gig.
“The issue between the Mayor and the NRA is their issue,” Brinker said. “Unfortunately the officers got put in the middle and lost the opportunity to work the show. Numerous members of the FOP (Fraternal Order of Police) attend the show each year either by working it or as regular attendees.”
Being a political appointee, Police Chief Thomas Carter sided with Papenfuse against his own officers, who enjoy working an outdoor show filled with smiling, law-abiding citizens. Carter will instead soak taxpayers for roughly $100,000 by sending his officers on overtime saturation patrols into the worse parts of the city in an effort to “make nice” with the rank-and-file patrol officers, who clearly think he’s a jerk.
They aren’t wrong.
The National Rifle Association has instead hired Sheriff’s deputies and officers from surrounding townships for this year’s show.