public safety Tag All blog entries tagged as public safety http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/latest Mon, 14 Jul 2014 14:01:45 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb 911 System Hearing: Top Official Promises Investigation http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2013/06/24/911-system-hearing-top-official-promises-investigation http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2013/06/24/911-system-hearing-top-official-promises-investigation Testifying at a hearing on the city’s new emergency 911 system, a top official of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration promised a "full investigation" into what caused a delay in responding to a request for help for a girl who died after she was struck by a car.

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Deputy Mayor Cas Holloway extended his condolence to the family of the girl and promised the full review as he testified for over three hours at a City Council hearing Friday, where he declared that the $88 million 911 system’s "technology worked."

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READ the City Council committee report about recent problems with the city's 911 system.

The parents of 4-year-old Ariel Russo, the girl in question, attended the hearing. Her mother spoke to the press afterwards.

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"There is only so much that we, the people of New York City, can actually do without the commitment of elected officials," said Sophia Russo, Ariel's mother. "I call on all New Yorkers to write and call our mayor and members of the City Council, imploring them to fix two major issues here. The first is, we need a law passed which prohibits high-speed police chases in school zones. Second and most importantly, we need to demand that this 911 system be fixed."

Her family has filed a notice of claim against the city and has hired attorney Sanford Rubenstein to represent them.

Ariel died after being struck by an SUV during a police chase on June 4. Fire department officials blamed the delay on human error and disputed reports that a technical glitch was at fault.

Bloomberg also tried to deflect blame from the technology to reporters last week.

“The software worked exactly the way it was supposed to be,” Bloomberg said. “There clearly was something wrong with somebody sitting in front of the screen, and maybe two people sitting in front of screens. They didn’t do what they were supposed to do and we’re looking at the procedures. It’s very tragic.”

The new 911 system was launched over three weeks ago as part of a $2 billion modernization project by Bloomberg’s administration.

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daniel.steinsayles@gmail.com (Daniel Stein-Sayles) City Mon, 24 Jun 2013 15:11:39 +0000
Thompson, A Backer Of NYPD IG Proposal, Gets Detectives' Union Support http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/elections/2013/06/06/thompson-a-backer-of-nypd-ig-proposal-gets-detectives-union-support http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/elections/2013/06/06/thompson-a-backer-of-nypd-ig-proposal-gets-detectives-union-support A union representing police detectives opposes legislation that would create an independent monitor to oversee the New York Police Department.

But their opposition to the proposal hasn’t stopped the union from endorsing Democrat Bill Thompson for mayor — who has said he supports the idea.

Michael Palladino, chief of the Detectives' Endowment Association, was asked by a reporter yesterday at a rally for Thompson whether the candidate’s support of the inspector general legislation weighed into the union’s decision to endorse him. “Obviously it didn’t,” Palladino replied.

Palladino is also the chairman of the Uniformed Workers of New York, which held the campaign rally to show their support for Thompson.

Thompson reiterated his support of the proposal for an independent police inspector general, as well as a modified form of stop-and-frisk.

"Stop-and-frisk — and I've said this before and I'll say it again — is a useful policing tool that's been misused and abused,” Thompson said as heads bobbed in agreement behind him.

“When you get away from the constitutional way it was determined that it should be used, then its wrong and it’s a mistake. I think if you ask a number of those in law enforcement here individuals you’ll hear that also.”

The coalition technically announced its support for the candidate last week, but came out yesterday to publicly vouch for Thompson’s positions on public safety.

In a prepared statement, Palladino praised Thompson, who has promised to add 2,000 officers to the police force.

"Bill Thompson is ready to lead our city and protect New Yorkers from day one,” he said in the statement.

The UUWNY represents more than 125,000 city and state workers across 20 unions from the city’s police, fire, sanitation, corrections and court service work forces.

The Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, one of the city’s most influential police unions, has yet to endorse a candidate in the race.

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webmaster@gothamgazette.com (Administrator) Elections Thu, 06 Jun 2013 15:41:20 +0000
WATCH LIVE: Mayor Bloomberg's Public Safety Address to NYPD http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2013/04/30/watch-live-mayor-bloombergs-public-safety-address-to-nypd http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2013/04/30/watch-live-mayor-bloombergs-public-safety-address-to-nypd In his third press conference on the subject in recent weeks, Mayor Michael Bloomberg will speak to leadership from the New York Police Department on public safety today.

Bloomberg's speech follows last week's address from City Council Speaker and Democratic mayoral candidate Christine Quinn's speech on the same subject.

Bloomberg has now held multiple press conferences with NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly on the heels of Boston marathon attacks, often discussing increased surveillance and opposition to what he calls "special interests" looking to change the Police Department's current practices.

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webmaster@gothamgazette.com (Administrator) City Tue, 30 Apr 2013 15:39:37 +0000
Quinn Aims For Middle Ground In Public Safety Speech http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/safety/2013/04/24/quinn-aims-for-middle-ground-in-public-safety-speech http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/safety/2013/04/24/quinn-aims-for-middle-ground-in-public-safety-speech New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn wants the police department to be bigger than it is under Mayor Michael Bloomberg — and to better relate with the people that it protects.

The Democratic candidate for mayor defended most of Bloomberg's current policing strategy anc called for an additional 1,600 uniformed officers, but tried to reach a middle ground on the city's stop, question and frisk policy.

While she reiterated her support for an independent police monitor to oversee the department, Quinn distanced herself from a proposed law that would expand the city's law against racial profiling.

"We need to sustain the progress we've made over the past 12 years, fix what hasn't worked and build a stronger bond between police and the communities they serve," she said.

Quinn also defended Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, who Quinn has previously lauded despite disagreement on the stop-and-frisk policy. She called his work "incredible" and said that anyone who fails to recognize his work "is simply out of touch with the reality of life in New York City."

Kelly and Bloomberg have both come out against a City Council proposal to create an indepdnent inspector general. Both the commissioner and the mayor argue that the NYPD has sufficient oversight, including the Civilain Complaint Review Board and the department's Internal Affairs Bureau. Quinn nonethless celebrated Kelly's time with the force.

"Our city would be incredibly lucky to have him continue on as commissioner," she said.

To continue making progress, Quinn said that the police needs to hire more officers. She prosposed that the city hire 1,600 additional police officers, and that the department accelerate its hiring of 500 new officers who are scheduled to start in January.

Quinn would instead have those new officers begin in June, and said that a speedier increase in police hires would not be a financial burden for the department. The additional cost, she said, would be offset by, among other things, the lower wages given to new recruits as opposed to senior officers on the verge of retirement.

Quinn credited Kelly for a number of things, including what she called strides in community relations since former Mayor Rudy Giuliani's tenure. She also praised the increased number of minority officers and the department's "direct community engagement."

Calling stop-and-frisk an "important tool" for police, Quinn said she doesn't want to ban the policy. Instead, she wants the NYPD to better train its officers and build better working relationships with community members to mend the rift between the two.

"A safe city and a city where people in every community feel like they’re being treated with respect are not mutually exclusive goals," she said. "We can have both."

She repeated her support for the independent monitor legislation, one of four bills in the propsoed Community Safety Act. Unlike previous statements about the act, however, Quinn came out against one of the bills that would enforce the city's law against racial profiling.

She cautioned that the bill is redundant of existing checks put in place against racial profiling. Quinn said New Yorkers can already work file grievances with the CCRB and lawsuits through the federal courts.

"I believe this presents a real risk that a multitude of state court judges issue rulings that could take control of police policy decisions away from the mayor and commissioner," Quinn said, repeating a line often used against her support of the inspector general bill. "This could overlap and possibly conflict with rulings coming out of the federal courts, and could occur before the proposed oversight through DOI has had a chance to be fully implemented."

The Community Safety Act's lead sponsors, who have worked with Quinn on the inspector general bill, both admonished the speaker for her lack of support for the racial profiling bill. Brooklyn Councilmen Jumaane Williams and Brad Lander jointly stated that recent lawsuits against stop-and-frisk prove that profiling is happening despite existing law.

"We cannot keep our communities safe by profiling our neighbors based on their race, religion, LGBT, or other status," they wrote in response to Quinn's speech. "It violates fundamental civil liberties, breaks down the bonds of trust necessary for good policing, sets New Yorkers against each other and has never been proven to work."

The bill in question, Intro 800-A, has already been amended since it was first introduced last year. The latest language would not allow plaintiffs to seek monetary damages, adopt the city Human Rights Law's definition of profiling and protect supervisors from legal action.

Quinn is expected to join her fellow Democratic mayoral candidates for a larger forum on public safety tonight at John Jay College for Criminal Justice to be aired on NY1.

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webmaster@gothamgazette.com (Administrator) Public Safety Wed, 24 Apr 2013 20:49:48 +0000
NYPD Reviewing Security Measures For Upcoming Public Events http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/safety/2013/04/16/nypd-reviewing-security-measures-for-upcoming-public-events http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/safety/2013/04/16/nypd-reviewing-security-measures-for-upcoming-public-events

The New York Police Department is taking additional security precautions for at least two public events this weekend following the attack at the Boston Marathon.

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said that there have been no specific threats to New York City, but that the city remains vigilant in the wake of yesterday's bombing of the annual running event in Boston.

Kelly said the NYPD was reviewing security plans for a 5K Run/Walk and family day for the 9/11 memorial and a four-mile race in Central Park for the City Parks Foundation.

"We are certainly evaluating, or reevaluating them, in light of the event that took place yesterday," he said at a press conference with Mayor Michael Bloomberg at City Hall today. The Boston flag was at half-mast in front of City Hall in remembrance of the victims of the attack.

"We are vigilant, but we are vigilant for a good cause," Kelly said.

Kelly added that NYPD received 77 reports of suspicious packages in the last 24 hours, compared to 21 at this time last year. He said that police anticipated the spike in reports, and asked that residents continue to be vigilant. He also said that the police department is in communication with the FBI and has sent two police sergeants to the Boston Regional Intelligence Center to provide assistance.

NYPD responded to yesterday's events by deploying its fleet of highly visible patrol units to hotels and prominent, iconic locations around the city. There was also an increased police presence throughout the city's subways. The city mobilized 1,000 officers for counter-terrorism duties, Bloomberg said in a statement hours after the attack.

During today's press conference, Bloomberg said that the Boston attacks should not keep New Yorkers from their daily routines.

"That's what we have to do — go about our day, keep the victims of this awful tragedy in our thoughts and our prayers," Bloomberg said. "Go about our business. Let's not forget what happened in the past and let’s prepare for the future."

Photo: NYC.gov

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webmaster@gothamgazette.com (Administrator) Public Safety Tue, 16 Apr 2013 19:18:45 +0000
Supreme Court Rejects Westchester Residents' Concealed Handgun Appeal http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/state/2013/04/15/supreme-court-rejects-westchester-residents-concealed-handgun-appeal http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/state/2013/04/15/supreme-court-rejects-westchester-residents-concealed-handgun-appeal The nation's highest court stayed above the fray of the gun control debate after it declined to hear appeals from New York State gun owners.

The court didn't comment on the case, Kachalsky v. Cacace, which came about as a result of the state's concealed-and-carry laws. Five Westchester County residents had their applications for unrestricted concealed permits rejected after the clerk's office said that they had failed to show a need for self-protection outside of their home.

New York State penal law allows local authorities to grant concealed handgun permits at their own discretion.

The Kachalsky case is unrelated to the package of gun control reform legislation that Gov. Andrew Cuomo in January, parts of which come into effect today — including the ban on magazines for semi-automatic guns used for home protection that have more than seven bullets. The New York Post reported that the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association will file for a preliminary injunction against the Cuomo-backed law with the US District Court.

Concealed handgun permits remain central to the ongoing debate in Washington D.C. as Congress mulls over the latest bipartisan gun control proposal. Sen. Chuck Schumer has already spoken out strongly against one amendment proposed in the compromise that would force New York to recognize permitted gun owners from across state lines.

"Any New York criminal could go down to Florida, buy guns and then carry them here in New York," Schumer said during a press event at his Manhattan office on Sunday. "This legislation could change Times Square into the O.K. Corral."

The U.S. Senate voted last week to allow debate on proposed gun control legistion, and Schumer — who has a zero percent rating from the National Rifle Association — said senators could begin to vote on bills as early as Tuesday.

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webmaster@gothamgazette.com (Administrator) State Mon, 15 Apr 2013 17:35:56 +0000
Lhota to Quinn: Leave NYPD Alone http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/elections/2013/04/01/lhota-to-quinn-leave-nypd-alone http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/elections/2013/04/01/lhota-to-quinn-leave-nypd-alone

Republican mayoral candidate Joe Lhota says City Council Speaker Christine Quinn's support for an independent police monitor is "reckless," "dangerous" and "redundant."

Lhota made the comments about Quinn, a Democrat who is also seeking to be mayor, from a prepared text while standing next to a super-sized printout of New York Police Department CompStat numbers.

"The police department needs to maintain a laser-like focus in the reduction of crime," Lhota said. "We can't allow reckless behavior like putting a handcuff on the police department, which is what the inspector general bill will do."

A supporter of NYPD's stop-and-frisk program, Lhota said that he would expect the NYPD to regularly train officers on how to use what he described as a constitutional practice.

The candidate praised Mayor Michael Bloomberg and NYPD Commisioner Ray Kelly for their leadership on crime reduction, but also pointed to a spike in felony crimes between 2011 and 2012, which he highlighted on the board next to him. Lhota argued that public safety in the city is in too fragile a state to consider putting in place another level of bureaucracy on the police department.

Lhota also pushed back against a reporter when he was asked about former Mayor Rudy Giuliani's alleged support of a police inspector general in 1993. Lhota, who served as Giuliani's deputy mayor, said that the former mayor only said that he would think about establishing an independent monitor.

"Go back and look at candidate Giuliani's quote where he said, ‘I might consider it,'" Lhota said. "He did not support one."

Lhota pointed to Giuliani's court battle with then Speaker Peter Vallone, Sr. over an independent monitor bill, which the Council lost. Less than an hour after Lhota's press event, the speaker's office sent out an email to reporters with five press clips referring to Giuliani's comments on an inspector general.

When reached for a response to Lhota's claims, Quinn's office forwarded letters of support for an inspector general bill from three former corporation counsels of New York City and the City Council's Black, Latino and Asian Caucus.

Giuliani on NYPD Outside Monitor by Chester Soria

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webmaster@gothamgazette.com (Administrator) Elections Mon, 01 Apr 2013 17:35:37 +0000
Bloomberg, Quinn At Odds Over NYPD Inspector General http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2013/03/21/bloomberg-quinn-at-odds-over-nypd-inspector-general http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2013/03/21/bloomberg-quinn-at-odds-over-nypd-inspector-general

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the introduction of any legislation that would create an inspector general to independently monitor the NYPD will set a dangerous precedent for the city.

He said the plan is a political play during an election year that would create redundant bureaucracy.

"Together, the mayor and the commissioner set the direction of the department — and they do not need an unelected and unaccountable official to supervise their policy decisions," Bloomberg said. "The bill being considered by the City Council would undermine the accountability that has been essential in the department’s success — and make our city less safe."

Council Speaker Christine Quinn, one of the leading Democratic candidates for mayor who yesterday announced she would support a measure to create an inspector general for the NYPD, told reporters at City Hall that it was unfortunate the mayor disagrees with the bill. But she said she expects the bill to pass with overwhelming support as soon as it's introduced. She said she would push back against a mayoral veto.

"I can guarantee we will override it," she said.

Quinn said the groups that Mayor Bloomberg cited as oversight bodies — five district attorneys, two U.S. attorneys, the Civilian Complaint Review Board, the Commission to Combat Police Corruption and the department's own Internal Affairs Bureau — did not have sufficient powers to reign in the NYPD.

"Those are entities that look at the actions of individual police officers," Quinn said. "But we don't, in fact, have a monitoring mechanism to look at broader policies and practices within the department."

She rebuffed Bloomberg's implication that the bill is just election year politics, adding that the stakes were too high for her to ignore the legislation while she still serves as speaker.

"We have a situation right now in this city, whether we like it or not, where some of the practices of the police department have caused significant rifts the police and the community," Quinn said. "Those types of rifts make it harder to keep people safe, not easier. This type of monitoring will help move us beyond this issue in the future."

Some of Quinn's fellow candidates for mayor began to take a stand on the issue a forum on public safety on Tuesday night. Democratic candidate Bill de Blasio and Republican Joe Lhota both vocally opposed the bill, although Capital New York reported that de Blasio supports introducing an inspector general bill that grants subpeona power and a budget independent of both the mayor and council.

The public advocate's fellow Democratic challenger and former comptroller Bill Thompson sent out a statement late Wednesday also in support of a strong independent watchdog over NYPD.

"The need for an IG reflects the city’s failure to reform stop-and-frisk and see our communities as partners, instead of adversaries, in fighting crime," the statement said.

Meanwhile, Republican candidate and supermarket mogul John Catsimatidis sent out his own statement, calling Quinn's proposed inspector general legislation "ill-conceived" and that it "defies common sense."

"Speaker Quinn released the plan just prior to a mayoral debate focused on criminal justice and public safety issues in an attempt to advance her candidacy for mayor," Catsimatidis wrote. "It is a perfect example of a professional politician's desire to create a larger bureaucracy."

Photo by Bill Alatriste

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webmaster@gothamgazette.com (Administrator) City Thu, 21 Mar 2013 00:44:53 +0000
Religious Leaders Call For NYPD Reforms http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2012/12/10/religious-leaders-call-for-nypd-reforms http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2012/12/10/religious-leaders-call-for-nypd-reforms

Community organizers and religious leaders from various faiths came together in front of City Hall to mark International Human Rights Day by calling for increased oversight of the New York Police Department.

Advocates say that the use of controversial police practices such as stop-and-frisk and monitoring of Muslims demonstrate the need to reform public safety in communities of color.

They have called for the passage of a package of legislation called the Community Safety Act that includes a measure that would create a new inspector general to oversee the NYPD who would make recommendations about policy.

The police have said that their tactics make the city safer. Mayor Michael M. Bloomberg is firmly opposed to the Community Safety Act.

“The Muslim community is under siege,” said Imam Ayub Abdul-Baki, of the Islamic Leadership Council of Metropolitan New York, at today’s rally. “We are insecure about dealing with police officers in our community ... We are not sure if they are protecting or victimizing us.”

Faizah N. Ali, a 27-year-old coordinator for civic engagement from the Arab American Association of New York, said she became motivated to work on police accountability after news reports last year that the NYPD was monitoring Muslims.

“In a democratic society, part of our job is to hold our leaders accountable,” she said.

Ali explained that the unity among the various religious and ethnic groups at City Hall was part of an effort to emphasize the need for social justice in police practices. “We are a set of diverse New Yorkers looking for the police to treat everyone with dignity and respect," she said.

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Image courtesy eyewashdesign: A. Golden, used under Creative Commons license.

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webmaster@gothamgazette.com (Administrator) City Mon, 10 Dec 2012 23:40:52 +0000
Headlines: Traffic Emergency, Recovery Continues http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2012/11/01/headlines-traffic-emergency-recovery-continues- http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2012/11/01/headlines-traffic-emergency-recovery-continues-

Today's Lead Stories...

Partial Transit Restored, Free Rides


Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a traffic emergency for today and Friday making mass transit free for those using the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's busses and trains. "The service in many cases is limited, the service in many cases will be crowded," Cuomo said at a late night press conference in the city. The move came afterimmense gridlock Wednesday. City busses were jammed with commuters and gas lines stretched for over half a mile. Commuters who wish to drive into the city will have to car pool. The entire transportation infrastructure has yet to be restored with flooding still impeding some routes but partial service has been restored. Check out the MTA's post-storm stubway map.




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dking@gothamgazette.com (David Howard King) City Thu, 01 Nov 2012 12:33:46 +0000
Vallone Warns of Rise In Crime, Calls for Scrutiny of Nonprofits http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2012/10/04/vallone-warns-of-rise-in-crime-calls-for-scrutiny-of-nonprofits http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2012/10/04/vallone-warns-of-rise-in-crime-calls-for-scrutiny-of-nonprofits

Crime in New York City is going up in all categories except homicide, Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. told the Queens Campaigner in an interview published today.

“I’ve been warning that this crime increase would occur,” said the chair of the Council's public safety committee.

He indicated that the size of the police force could be linked to the uptick in crime, telling reporter Rebecca Henley that the "Safe Cities, Safe Streets" program in the early 1990s increased the number of police officers in the city from 31,000 to 41,000. But now he said that number is less than 35,000.

Vallone also defended stop-and-frisk, saying the police tactic had successfully gotten 800 firearms off the streets.

“I think they’re making an effort to do things the right way,” he said of the New York Police Department.

In the interview, Vallone also called for more scrutiny of nonprofits that are associated with politicians, following recent scandals.

The three-term councilman, who cannot run again for his seat, said he is instead eyeing the borough president's office for 2013.

Vallone's public safety committe is scheduled to convene Oct. 10, to consider bills that could create more oversight of how the police conducts street stops, for instance by requiring officers to "provide notice and obtain proof of consent to search individuals."

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Photo of Vallone courtesy of the City Council.

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webmaster@gothamgazette.com (Administrator) City Thu, 04 Oct 2012 16:20:54 +0000