Reporting Mike Schuh
BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Saturday night, hundreds of additional police officers will be out on patrol at the Inner Harbor as thousands ring in the new year. If you’re a police officer, you now know, New Year’s Eve is one of those days when you’ll have to report for duty.
Mike Schuh reports, one lucky officer will start the new year not wearing a uniform.
When the fireworks fly, it’s all-hands-on-deck for the police department. Days off are canceled. If you’re city police, you’re expected to work.
Now, meet Police Union President Bob Cherry, on the job for 18 years, the last four as president.
He deals with the concerns of the 4,800 members of the union, active and retired. But he does not have to work holidays.
Schuh: As someone who keeps their own hours even though you’re doing 50-60 hours a week, the things like the holidays, you’re not on those lists?
Cherry is the union president but he is also a sworn police officer with full police powers. But on most days, he’s at union headquarters in Hampden dressed in a suit and a tie.
Once in office, he realized though he has earned the right to be off on holidays, some officers never do.
“In particular, the public really sees how much of a sacrifice these guys are making,” he explained.
So, on Saturday night, he’s volunteering to take a patrol shift in the Western District.
“I’m just working for [another officer],” Cherry said. “By doing that, I’d be able to send home one of the officers who was assigned to the Western District on patrol home for the night on New Year’s Eve.”
Cherry doesn’t even personally know the officer he’s working for. A major chose the cop who has an exemplary record for making gun arrests.
“I’m trying to bring attention to the fact that these guys do make a big sacrifice by working these days,” he said. “I’m trying to remind myself and others that I’m a cop first, not just a union president.”
When asked if he was working the shift as a way to get reelected as union president, Cherry laughed and told WJZ that the other 2,800 officers are wondering why they weren’t picked.