First, there was this,
In a blatant act of total disrespect for New York State law, and disregard for human life, the Woodridge Police Department issued tickets to not one, but two Hatzolah members on Wednesday evening.
Eye-witnesses who saw the incident unfold related to YWN that Hatzolah was called for a diabetic passing out on the street in the town of Woodridge. Hatzolah was dispatched, and upon their arrival were asked for their license, registration, and insurance cards.
They were issued tickets by Chief of Police John Calvello for “unlawful use of red lights”, despite the very clear laws in NYS VTL 1104, and NYS VTL 375 (26 & 41).
Even more disturbing is the fact that the officer was overheard telling the Hatzolah members “I was a cop in the town of Fallsburg for more than 20 years, and know that you are legally allowed to use red lights, but I was forced to write the tickets by Isaac Kantrowitz, who is one of the Village Trustees of Woodridge”, and one of the towns police commissioners.
Reading the last paragraph between the lines, I’m guessing that the chief was threatened by Mr. Kantrowitz into committing an illegal act. Which is pretty stupid on the part of Isaac Kantrowitz, who is seems might need attend an anger management course. It’s also cowardly of the police chief to back down and write a ticket that he knows is illegal. I guess it should be an indication to my readers of why I’d never be a police chief because if I were, Mr. Kantrowitz would find himself inside one of the town’s cells.
Apparently, cooler heads prevailed. Which is a nice way of saying that the lawyers got involved. At least that’s my guess because this was the next story on this.
“On behalf of the Mayor, the Village of Woodridge both recognizes and acknowledges the rights of the properly licensed Hatzolah emergency vehicles to be treated as any other emergency vehicle including police, fire and other emergency vehicles,” wrote attorney Jeffrey Kaplan in an August 10 letter to ambulance service CEO Rabbi David Cohen.
Kaplan, who is also the mayor of the Village of Ellenville, wrote that, “In the future, the Village of Woodridge will continue to ensure that the Hatzalah ambulances are treated in the same fashion as other emergency vehicles and trust that the operators of emergency vehicles will operate their vehicles in a prudent and safe manner.”
Woodridge Police Chief John Calvello, in another letter, wrote that after consultation with the police commissioner, “I have determined the tickets issued should be immediately withdrawn.”
Nice of the chief withdrawing the tickets that were issued, especially since he was the officer that issued them in the first place.
Mr. Kantrowitz apparently couldn’t be reached for comment. Leaving aside any issues with the driving technique of the volunteers involved, it seems pretty clear that someone decided that ticketing volunteer first responders was not only illegal, but stupid.
I’d dearly love to have transcripts of the phone calls that took place between the Chief, the Rabbi, and Lawyer. They must have been very entertaining.