By Pat Lynch | May 18, 2020

New York City police officers were not surprised to hear that Mayor de Blasio’s Health Commissioner doesn’t give “two rats’ asses” about us.  Nor are we surprised that she still has a job.

After all, why would de Blasio fire her for summing up his entire approach to governance?  Why would she be the one punished for an attitude that infects New York City’s entire political class?

It has been clear for awhile that our elected leaders do not give a rat’s ass about the public good.

They didn’t give a rat’s ass that crime was skyrocketing before the pandemic thanks to their pro-criminal policies. They don’t give a rat’s ass that shootings are still spiking now, despite the lockdown.

They don’t give a rat’s ass that the dangerous criminals they are releasing into our neighborhoods are reoffending by the hundreds, because they don’t give a rat’s ass about crime victims.

They don’t give a rat’s ass that our city has been mismanaged to the brink of economic disaster thanks to their reckless spending on ideological pet projects and nepotistic make-work jobs for their spouses.

So we’re definitely not shocked that they didn’t give a rat’s ass about police officers. They knew we couldn’t stay home to protect ourselves. They knew we needed masks to do our job safely, and they sent us to work without them.  Thousands of us got sick. Six of our brothers died.

Dr. Barbot shares the blame for this lethal government failure. But so do the NYPD leaders who publicly insisted that they had plenty of masks when it was clear that they didn’t.  So does anyone who knew about Barbot’s anti-cop tirade but kept it quiet for two months, until it became useful as part of some political game.

This is about more than a doctor failing to uphold her oath.  It is about an entire administration — and entire generation of civic leaders — failing to govern with common sense or compassion.

We have been down this road before.  Nobody gave a rat’s ass in the 1970s, either.  They wrote our city off as “ungovernable” and let it sink into destitution, crime and decay.

We were already sliding in that direction before the pandemic struck, and police officers were bearing the brunt of it. From homelessness to mental health and every other problem that City Hall couldn’t solve, cops were being deployed as a Band Aid.

But simple policy failures during ordinary times can explode into disasters during a crisis.  The NYPD is now a Band Aid stretched over a gaping hole in our social fabric. All of our city’s pre-existing problems have deepened and magnified. Police officers are being put in untenable situations with no clear directions and zero support from the same elected leaders who are sending us out to do these jobs.  When their policies fail, they dump the blame onto us.

And then they continue with their petty political games and ideological crusades.  The anti-cop zealots on the City Council are already exploiting the “social distancing” enforcement debacle to try to slash police headcount and gut the NYPD’s budget.  They want to rip the Band Aid off and let the patient bleed out, because they don’t give a rat’s ass.

COVID-19 is a disease of the lungs. Our city officials are infected with a disease of the heart and mind, a terminal inability to put the will of the people before their own political agendas.

We beat that disease once before. New Yorkers got tired of watching our city rot. We dumped the do-nothing ideologues and demanded government that worked towards the good of the whole city.

But that was before the double infection with COVID-19.  We are worried that a city that has already lost so many precious lives, that is already facing so much economic devastation, will be too weak to fight off a second bout of political apathy.

New York City police officers have worked hard to protect our fellow New Yorkers during this crisis.  We worked hard for decades to bring our city back from the brink of despair.  We have worked too hard to just sit back and watch it slip away.  If we’re going to save our city’s life again, New York City police officers need your support.

Patrick J. Lynch is President of Police Benevolent Association of the City of New York, Inc.