SYRACUSE, NY (WSYR-TV) - The Syracuse police union could take the City of Syracuse to court over a change in security at Hancock Airport.
On July 1st, private firm G4S Secure Solutions took over security at Hancock Airport. The Syracuse Police Department used to fill that role, but the city says it led to unaffordable overtime costs.
G4S Secure Solutions is hiring some Syracuse Police officers who will work off-duty, part-time security shifts at Hancock Airport.
But the question of whether those off-duty officers can make arrests while working at Hancock has become a point of contention with the Syracuse Police Benevolent Association, or PBA.
The Airport Authority said those off-duty officers can make arrests at the airport.
But Syracuse PBA President Jeff Piedmonte told NewsChannel 9 that off-duty officers can not make arrests and that doing so is a violation of the Criminal Procedure Law.
"We thought once we pointed this out, that it's a violation of the law, that the city would agree, the airport authority would agree and we would negotiate terms with the airport authority and report directly to them,” said Piedmonte. “But that didn't happen so now we're going to have to proceed to court."
Switching to a private security firm is expected to save the city $1.7-million a year.
Aviation Commissioner Christina Reale says those savings will be passed on to the airlines and eventually the consumer in the form of cheaper plane tickets.
“We wanted to lower costs but at the same time we can never compromise security so we are no different today than we were yesterday in terms of complying with what our security requirements are,” said Reale.
As of Sunday, Reale said 90 Syracuse Police officers have signed up to work for the private security firm during their "off-hours."