By P1 Staff
NEW YORK CITY — Help a cop, get paid – or at least that’s what the New York City Sergeants Benevolent Association is hoping to make happen with its new “Help a Cop” incentive program, announced Wednesday.
According to WNBC, the program aims to encourage would-be onlookers to stow their cell phones and get involved next time they witness an officer struggling with a tough arrest.
“Far too often, we see police officers engaged in violent struggles with perpetrators while members of the public stand by and take videos of the incident,” Association president Ed Mullins told the New York Post.
To combat this, the SBA has come up with a creative solution: Instead of recording footage or taking photos of the incident, citizens who assist struggling officers would receive a $500 reward.
According to the Post, a panel of experts would deliberate on a case-by-case basis on whether assistance would earn a reward, but stopping and detaining a fleeing suspect would count.
The program has generated support, including from State Senator Martin Golden, who is working with the SBA to draft legislation to protect Good Samaritans who come to an officer’s aid.
Other groups, such as the New York Police Department, are not as keen.
“The NYPD encourages people to support their cops by calling 911,” an agency spokesperson told the Post. “The department doesn’t want to see people put in harm’s way unnecessarily to collect a reward.”
However, Mullins believes the Help a Cop program will be worth the risk.
“Hopefully, this program will incentivize Good Samaritans to do the right thing,” Mullins said.