Chicago, IL – The co-owner and vice president of a large refrigerated fleet is speaking out and issuing a warning to leaders and residents of cities defunding police.
In a series of recent national and international media interviews, Mike Kucharski, co-owner and V.P. of Illinois-based JKC Trucking, is pulling no punches when it comes to the growing “Defund the Police” movement.
Kucharski, who is a second-generation truck driver, says he was once attacked by an intruder who burst into his truck while making a delivery, and refuses to send his drivers into areas without the presence of law enforcement.
“No load or cargo is worth my driver’s life or safety,” he recently told Canadian radio show host Roy Green. “JKC supports our drivers and police is the critical part of protecting our drivers on the road.”
Kucharski indicated JKC drivers are also expressing their concerns.
“Most of my drivers have already come to me and said, ‘Hey, are we going to have to go into these states?,’” Kucharski told Green.
Major cities such as Seattle, WA and Los Angeles, CA, have already taken steps to defund its local police departments and redirect those funds into social programs.
Just last week the New York City Council voted to slash $1 billion from the New York Police Department’s Fiscal Year 2021 budget.
The move will cancel a nearly 1,200-person police recruiting class set for next month.
However, leaders in Minneapolis are going further by seeking to replace its entire local law enforcement model.
On June 26, the Minneapolis City Council voted unanimously (12-0) to move ahead with a proposal to disband the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) and replace it with a “Department of Community Safety and Violence Prevention.”
Kucharski reserved his most direct warning to Minneapolis city leaders and Minnesota state officials.
“The state of Minnesota is going to be in big trouble if truck drivers won’t deliver essential goods groceries or perishables,” he said. “What are they going to do? They’re going to run out of food within three days max.”
Kucharski’s assessment is certainly notable given the fact he operates a 210-truck fleet specializing in the transportation of refrigerated and temperature-controlled items.
In a recent guest appearance on the Vicki McKenna Radio Show, Kucharski doubled down on his warning and broadened it to include every other state considering such defunding or dismantling efforts.
“These drivers have the right to refuse a load because they are worried about their own safety. If these drivers all refuse to go into these areas, the food supply chain collapses. There’s going to be no more essential goods. The people in these states are going to run out of food. Then there’s going to be complete chaos. I’d say 72 hours and that’s it. The party’s over,” he said.
While most major trucking associations and executives of larger companies have remained publicly quiet on the issue, Transportation Nation Network (TNN) has spoken to many who are concerned about the implications of taking more police off of the streets and the possible ramifications.
To this point, Kucharski admits most trucking executives aren’t speaking out about it, but says he believes many motor carrier executives feel similarly as he does about this issue.
“I would say the majority feel just as I do,” he told Green.
Truckers have flooded TNN’s social media and members only pages in recent weeks with comments similar to Kucharski’s.
“Truck drivers are already sounding the alarm!” Kucharski told McKenna.
However, the question remains, are leaders in these cities listening to truckers’ concerns or even considering what could result if the trucking industry refuses to offer service to their residents?
Kucharski told Green that is one of the reasons he is speaking out about it now.
“I would love to discuss what are we going to do? How are we going to keep our drivers safe?”
So far, he says he has yet to hear from any policy makers about these concerns.