07/05/2006

Pregnant N.Y. officer punched in stomach on job

By Christine Armario, Staff Writer
Newsday
Copyright 2006 Newsday, Inc. 

A pregnant police officer was hit in the stomach in the lobby of Suffolk's First Precinct station house, police union sources said yesterday.

The county Police Benevolent Association said Stacey Cunneen, who is almost eight months pregnant, had been reassigned to work behind the front desk when she was assaulted on Saturday by a civilian in the lobby, who was arrested later.

Cunneen was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center, where she was being treated to stop early contractions caused by the assault, according to Noel DiGerolamo, a PBA trustee to the First Precinct.

Yesterday, Cunneen declined to speak at the West Islip hospital about the incident. A department spokesman was unable to provide further detail or comment.

The assault at the West Babylon station house comes weeks after a federal court jury found a Suffolk police department policy forbidding officers with non-work-related injuries to be assigned limited duties discriminatory to pregnant officers. Under the current policy, however, officers unable to wear a vest are allowed 90 days of limited duty, Lt. Harold Armet of the legal bureau has said.

DiGerolamo said Cunneen was the first woman in the department to take issue with the bulletproof vests not fitting during a previous pregnancy some years ago. But DiGerolamo and Jeff Frayler, president of the PBA, said front desk duty is not safe enough for pregnant women.

"It's a lot of administrative work; however, whatever comes into the lobby, she needs to deal with," DiGerolamo said. The desk duties can include searching and lodging prisoners, among other tasks.

DiGerolamo said there are typically two officers on the desk and one civilian employee who cannot use force. "Clearly the desk is not a nonconfrontational situation," Frayler said. 
 
July 4, 2006

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