Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Council Member James: rather than assign 78th Precinct to police arena, create new annex shared by three precincts; also, she still hasn't seen security plan

City Council Member Letitia James is not pleased with the decision, conveyed via a New York Post article but not apparently an official announcement, that the New York Police Department will assign the 78th Precinct in Brooklyn to police the Barclays Center arena.

Why? It ignores issues of overlapping jurisdictions, leading her to propose instead an annex shared by the three precincts that currently have jurisdiction over the Atlantic Yards sites, with all additional costs underwritten by the developer.

The 78th Precinct stationhouse is a block away, though the arena is located at the far north of the precinct. The other two precincts have stationhouses located at the far eastern ends of their territories.

James's press statement asserts that the "arena is located in Prospect Heights, which is covered by the 77th Precinct (with the boundaries for the 88th Precinct ending across the street)."

Actually, as noted in the map at right and the map I ran earlier in the week, the 78th and 88th Precincts share jurisdiction over the arena site, indicated in red. The stationhouse for the 78th is denoted by the blue indicator.

James's statement
"Such a move has been justified by citing the 78th Precinct’s close proximity to the upcoming arena. This move would also greatly increase overtime for the precinct’s officers. However, police precinct boundaries are required to be coterminous with local district boundaries, subject to the New York City Charter process outlined in Section 2704(b). The NYPD unilaterally making decisions regarding the alignment of police precinct boundaries might then call into question other local governmental agencies that are similarly subject to coterminality requirements. These decisions have public policy and planning consequences, and should be further discussed with local elected officials and community stakeholders.
It is my position that the NYPD should place new officers in a police annex dedicated to the Barclay’s [sic] Arena site. The 77th, 78th, and 88th precincts should be working collaboratively to consult in these matters. Additionally, the cost of these new police officers— and all over time costs— should be underwritten by the developer. There is no reason to cherry-pick from one precinct over another, and no reason to take vital resources from any precinct. The most important factor is ensuring that the officers in these local precincts remain dedicated to community policing."
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Earlier this year, Council Member James questioned Jane Marshall— a Forest City Ratner executive— on Barclay’s security issues including overtime costs for arena events, traffic agents, and the overall security plan for the arena. She has also requested a copy of the security plan from NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly. There has been no response.
James posed her questions at the 1/26/12 meeting of the Atlantic Yards District Service cabinet. The next cabinet meeting will be on March 15 at 9:30 am at Borough Hall.

(James, by the way, is running for Public Advocate.)

Cop: arena will be a "nightmare"

Gothamist reported:
The 78th Station house is a block away from the arena, and one source at the 78th argues, "The overtime was going up whether we got the arena or not. If something happens at the arena and a cop isn’t around, most people are going to walk into our [station house] to report it because we’re across the street. They’re not traveling all the way to the 88th, so obviously, our workload is going up. And don’t get me started with the traffic and scalpers. Yes, many people are looking forward to more overtime. But the arena is going to be a nightmare to deal with."

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