ST LOUIS COUNTY, MS – According to a memo released by the St. Louis County Police Department, the agency is looking to tap into their retired workforce in the event that COVID-19 causes shortages in their manpower.
The SLCPD is currently cataloging a list of retirees who would be interested in returning back to work under an “emergency part-time intermittent basis.”
NEW: The St. Louis County Police Department is asking retired officers if they are willing to come back and work on an "emergency part-time intermittent basis" amid COVID-19 (#coronavirus) concerns. https://t.co/GkAtah2wBW
— Rob Edwards (@RobertDEdwards) March 12, 2020
The memo detailed the type of work they’d be looking to have the former police officers engage in, such as desk-duty related tasks like taking informational calls and handling reports.
The email that contained the memo was sent to roughly 100 retirees, reportedly. Among those contacted in this effort were St. Louis County Councilman Tim Fitch, St. Charles County Police Chief Kurt Frisz, and The BackStoppers executive director Ron Batelle.
— KMOX St. Louis News (@kmoxnews) March 12, 2020
Councilman Fitch stated the following on the concept:
“I think it’s a logical plan for the future in case it’s needed. Officers are people, too. They respond to every sick call in the county, so they should be prepared in case there’s a loss of manpower.”
Compensation for those who’d be willing to return to the SLCPD would garner $25 an hour if their firearms training is up to par.
Those who aren’t firearms qualified would be getting paid $20 per hour. It was also explained that this pay would be in concurrence with the retirees’ existing pensions.
The St. Louis County Police Department is asking recently retired officers if they are willing to come back to work if the #coronavirus outbreak affects the agency.
Read more in our live blog: https://t.co/0GlUN0YhIX
— STL Public Radio (@stlpublicradio) March 12, 2020
The councilman noted that he’s debating on returning to the force if needed, but mentioned that he’d do so without compensation. Councilman Fitch also stated that even though they’re targeting those who are retired, career law enforcement doesn’t just lose their capacities overnight:
“We have a skill set that doesn’t expire and most of us still stay engaged. Many of us still keep up with the training.”
Interestingly, when Councilman Fitch served as the chief of the SLCPD, he was instrumental in getting legislation passed that is allowing the department to tap into their retired workforce.
For the media who are asking – 590.210 RSMo is the statute allowing retired MO law enforcement officers to be utilized in an emergency. Hat tip to the St. Louis County Police Retirees Association for suggesting and pushing this legislation. #GoodPlanningHopeWeWillNotNeedIt
— Tim Fitch (@ChiefTimFitch) March 12, 2020
The department is only reaching out to retirees that have left the force within the past 10 years.
Sgt. Ben Granda from the department didn’t get into any specifics of the plan, but mentioned that there are ongoing assessments to address all possibilities:
“The St. Louis County Police Department is evaluating what resources it has at its disposal to ensure it is agile enough to provide superior service in an evolving situation.”
A clever plan in the event that there’s a temporary shortage of officers for this department, or rather, any police department. Perhaps other law enforcement agencies should take note of this potential measure as well, if the need arises.
Also, retired police officers already have a track record of ingenious solutions to modern problems. Like when Starbucks was being complete jerks to police officers just trying to get some coffee.
Starbucks, the coffee giant that shut down more than 8,000 locations for a day in 2018 to show employees anti-police propaganda all in the name of “anti-bias training,” again made headlines after what happened on December 12th, 2019 in Riverside County, California.
That’s where the sheriff’s department claims that two of its deputies were refused service.
Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco wasn’t having it.
Last December he tweeted:
“The anti police culture repeatedly displayed by Starbucks employees must end.”
Two of our deputies were refused service at Starbucks. The anti police culture repeatedly displayed by Starbucks employees must end. https://t.co/XXgjtJ9GcH
— Chad Bianco (@SheriffBianco) December 14, 2019
Starbucks was quick to respond when ABC News contacted them.
They acknowledged that the two California deputies were in uniform when they visited the Starbucks at around 11 p.m., and were ignored by workers for about five minutes.
Starbucks spokesperson Reggie Borges said:
“There is simply no excuse for how the two deputies were ignored. We’re deeply sorry for that.”
But the company says they weren’t refused service… just “inadvertently ignored”.
Starbucks says to be on the safe side, they’ve launched an investigation into the incident to better understand if the deputies were intentionally ignored by the employees.
They said in the meantime, the employees who were on duty are not being scheduled to work… and that Starbucks leadership will travel to the location to fully understand what unfolded.
They also claimed to have reached out to Sheriff Bianco to apologize.
Borges also said:
“We really want to connect with the two deputies, apologize directly, and hear their stories. We take full responsibility for any intentional or unintentional disrespect to law enforcement.”
First… Send in the Navy SEALS
Ever hear of an SRT? It’s short for “Special Reaction Team”. Basically… it’s the guys you send in when you need to move quickly to protect people.
Enter: Eli Crane and Salvatore DeFranco.
Eli is the CEO of a company called Bottle Breacher, which you probably saw on Shark Tank. They turn .50 cal bullets into bottle openers.
Salvatore DeFranco is the CEO of Battle Grounds Coffee. It’s a brand that’s exploded – both in terms of online sales and brick and mortar locations.
[Editor’s note: Law Enforcement Today is proud to support and buy from both companies, knowing that a portion of proceeds help support law enforcement charities.]
Both men run the respective companies alongside their incredible brides – Jen Crane and Dana DeFranco.
One could argue the ladies are both the brains and looks behind the operations.
Eli and Sal served as Navy SEALS together. When Sal was in an accident that nearly took his life and ended up in a coma for more than two months, Eli was by his side.
The two have remained friends over the years. As their companies have grown, so have the friendships between the two couples.
Under the leadership of the four patriotic Americans, the brands have exploded with a “God and country first” message.
So when they saw police officers starting to get shafted at Starbucks, they decided to create their own “Special Reaction Team”.
“It’s unacceptable to us that these police officers continue to be disrespected time and time again,” said Eli. “We wanted to show our brothers and sisters in blue that we stand beside them.”
Eli and Sal both recognize that the battlefield isn’t just overseas – it’s now on our streets as well.
“There’s a war on police officers underway right now,” said Sal. “They are being targeted, shot, stabbed, run over and murdered… leaving behind countless survivors to try and pick up the pieces. And yet your company is going to embrace a culture where it’s acceptable to treat them like dirt? Not on our watch.”
The two couples knew that taking a pro-law enforcement stance wasn’t without risk. But they don’t give a damn.
“God is at the center of every decision we make,” said Jen. “Do the right thing every single time – period. It’s a pretty simple business philosophy.”
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The Battle Grounds has locations in Elizabeth Warren’s territory of Massachusetts. She’s been historically anti-law enforcement. But to Dana and Sal, it’s not about politics.
“Believe what you want. Vote how you want. But recognize that we are blessed to do all of that because we have brave men and women willing to lay down their lives to keep you safe.”
Enter: NYPD’s “Proud Pig”
“We’re all in this together.”
When Michael Burke heard about what Sal and Eli were doing… he decided help make it a hat trick to support all of the officers getting screwed.
Michael Burke is a retired member of the NYPD.
He started a company a few years back called “Proud Pig”… and thought this was the perfect opportunity to send some free swag out to the deserving officer who was called a pig.
“These attacks on our law enforcement officers are happening all across the country,” said Burke. “The media is doing everything in their power to divide us. We wanted to show that the brotherhood is still alive and well. We’re excited to send out some gifts to this officer.”
Proud Pig has exploded over the past couple of years, quickly becoming one of the favored clothing apparel lines for those who support officers… and those who hold the Thin Blue Line.
Unapologetic and “New York” in attitude, the company turns the “pig” insult upside down.
“As a lifestyle brand, Proud Pig Apparel aims to re-energize the sense of Brotherhood and pride in the Blue Line that is disappearing daily from our profession. We will not allow false narratives to divide us.
We hope to inspire all with our ‘in your face’, non-apologetic Swine Swag. Original designs and superior customer experience, from a Law-Enforcement-owned and operated business. A portion of all profits are donated to Law Enforcement charities.
Pride, Integrity & Guts. P.I.G.”
What They’re Doing
Outside of the tremendous number of donations they’ve made over the years to organizations like Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.), the two couples… along with Michael Burke and his team at Proud Pig… have been quietly hooking up the officers who have been getting screwed over by companies like Starbucks.
(Above: A sit down with Eli talking about the role God plays in his company, his service and his family.)
Every time they hear of it happening… they try and hunt down the addresses of the officers and send them a care package. Coffee from Battle Grounds (that actually tastes good, unlike the failure-flavored grinds from Starbucks) and a “freedom package” from Bottle Breacher. Throw in some “Proud Pig” swag and you’ve got quite the surprise package.
One of those packages was directed to officers in Oklahoma after an employee in Kiefer in November of 2019 wrote “PIG” on the coffee cups of an officer on Thanksgiving.
In that incident, the employee was fired the day after Thanksgiving – only after the story exploded in the media.
Starbucks said the worker “used poor judgment and is no longer a partner’’ after the violation of company policy.
Here’s what happened there.
A Kiefer police officer with the Green Country Police Department said he received his drinks with the word “PIG” written on the cups on Thanksgiving.
Kiefer Police Chief Johnny O’Mara spoke to the local media about it.
According to the chief, one of his officers who was working Thanksgiving went to the Glenpool Starbucks to get coffee for dispatchers who were also having to work the holiday.
He said each of the five cups the officer received had the “pig” label.
“This is what he gets for being nice,” O’Mara said in a Facebook post.
He included a picture of one of the cups.
“What irks me is the absolute and total disrespect for a police officer who, instead of being home with family and enjoying a meal and a football game, is patrolling his little town,” the chief said.
He said it’s part of a bigger picture.
“This cup of coffee for a ‘pig’ is just another little flag. It’s another tiny symptom and a nearly indiscernible shout from a contemptuous, roaring and riotous segment of a misanthropic society that vilifies those who stand for what’s right and glorifies the very people who would usher in the destruction of the social fabric.
It’s another tiny pinprick into the heart of men and women who are asking themselves more often: ‘Why am I doing this?’”
Wondering what the stores response was when O’Mara called them? They said they would replace the coffee with a corrected label.
Later in the day on Thanksgiving, the employee who made the labels called the officer and apologized, saying it was meant to be a joke between her and another co-worker.
“Replace the coffees with the corrected labels? THAT is their apology?” questioned Sal.
He thought that was just insulting.
“This is ridiculous. Your employees insult law enforcement across the country on yet another holiday that they’ve sacrificed time with their families to keep YOUR employees safe – and this is the best you can do?”
Sal and Dana were so upset when they heard what had happened that they took a break from their own Thanksgiving celebrations and drove to one of their locations. That’s where they packed up a special care package to send to the Green County Police Department.
“We might serve our country in different ways, but these are still my brothers. I’ll stand by their side and show them what appreciation looks like.”
According to Chief O’Mara, who didn’t know about the surprise coming their way from Battle Grounds, the problem is with the attitude people have these days.
“It’s on the individual level. There needs to be a little bit more decency in the world. There needs to be a little bit more common sense from people,” O’Mara said.
Just do the right thing, he said.
“Just dealing with – when we’re dealing every day with anybody – a little courtesy goes a long way.”
Kiefer’s police chief said that regardless of rumors, the officer was by himself when the incident took place.
According to a spokesperson with Starbucks Corporate, the employee was suspended. He confirmed that they have launched an investigation.
He said the following:
“This is absolutely unacceptable, and we are deeply sorry to the law enforcement officer who experienced this. We have also apologized directly to him and are working to connect with the police chief as well to express our remorse.
The barista has been suspended pending the outcome of our investigation into this matter. This language is offensive to all law enforcement and is not representative of the deep appreciation we have for police officers who work to keep our communities safe.”
Starbucks also made the following comment on Chief O’Mara’s post:
“This is totally unacceptable and offensive to all law enforcement. We are deeply sorry and have apologized directly to the officer who experienced this. We have launched an internal investigation into this matter and our leaders would like to connect with you directly to apologize to you and the entire department. We invite you to send us a private message so that we may connect you with our leadership.”
Chief O’Mara replied:
“Starbucks, you’re a corporation trying to sell a product. I’m certain you don’t condone this kind of juvenile activity. The employee made an unfortunate decision which, in turn, negatively effects your company’s image. I appreciate you reaching out to my officer and I also appreciate the employee reaching out and apologizing on her own. Our society needs a touch of old fashioned civility restored. Maybe we could use this bad event and convert it into something better.”
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