It appears that when in Rome, you should do as the Romans do on New Year’s Eve. For Roman police, that means calling in sick. The problem is that this year, the police left the city virtually undefended. Some 83.5 percent of Rome’s police scheduled to work on New Year’s Eve called in sick. Not since the sack of Rome in 410 by the Visigoths have the walls of Rome been so sparsely defended.
With 600,000 in the streets of Rome to celebrate the New Year, there was nary a cop to be seen. There were supposed to be 1000 municipal officers but 835 failed to show up. The Italian authorities are not investigating and even threatening disciplinary action.
Rome’s Mayor Ignazio Marino used Facebook that the officers’ actions intentionally tried to “ruin” the New Year celebrations.
The accusation has obvious parallels to New York. In Rome, the police have been at odds over salaries and working conditions. In New York, police are opposed to Mayor de Blasio for what they view as his support to protesters against police (that reached a flash point in the killing of two officers). Not only has the opposition to de Blasio led to police turning their backs on the Mayor during the two funerals but arrests plummeted some 66 percent in the aftermath.