NYPD’s ShotSpotter yields positive results

NYPD is reporting that the gunshot-locating technology ShotSpotter has helped lower shootings throughout Brooklyn and the Bronx. An article on nydailynews.com grants a number of accomplishments as a result of the technology: “The rise comes as both arrests by police and complaints against officers are down substantially while the department adheres to a new policing philosophy that stresses a closer relationship between cops and the neighborhoods they serve.” Another triumph is noted by the same article, stating that, “…34% of shootings detected by ShotSpotter also resulting in a 911 call, according to 2016 statistics.” The technology can detect acoustics and is able to differentiate between gunshots and other loud noises that typically come with living in The Big Apple.

The implementation of the technology was a move to help officers and community members. With a possible federal budget cut looming, this program cannot afford to be lost considering its results. The technology draws a picture of how many detected shots are called into 911 and how many aren’t. The data collected will tell cops how New Yorkers are responding to shootings. Not only has it statistically cut the number of non-reported gunshots almost in half, but it also draws a clearer picture of shootings. Nearly all ShotSpotter-detected shootings that were associated with a 911 call resulted in a weapon being obtained from the crime scene. More weapons are being collected and more calls are being made as a result of this technology. According to an article posted on NY1.com the year the technology first implemented, it covered three housing districts and 17 precincts. It has doubled in reach since then.

This technology has been in place for about two years, but the improvements in the data are new, as well as the plan to expand this technology to all five boroughs.

NYPD: New ‘ShotSpotter’ Sensors Automatically Detect Location of Gunfire

EXCLUSIVE: NYPD ShotSpotter gunfire sensors improve rates of 911 calls, arrests

 

NYPD gears up after London attack in wake of proposed budget cut

Last week, the Trump administration released their plan for a 10% spike in military spending. Roughly $700 million in federal grants from the Department of Homeland Security would be cut, according to an article posted on Newsday.com. These are the same grants that provide funding for counterterrorism efforts for local law enforcement agencies across the country, affecting everything from equipment to manpower. An estimated $110 million in DHS grants would be cut from their budget. Considering the NYPD is the largest municipal police force in the country, this kind of cut to their nearly $5 Billion budget is worrisome, to say the least. Senator Chuck Schumer and NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill appeared in Washington DC to show how important this funding is. Commissioner O’Neill stated in a New York Daily News article, “This is critical for our operation… that $110 million represents about 600 cops. I don’t think there’s clearer terms than that.” The $110 Million cut is just one estimated slash. An article on NYMag.com says that the cut could be as high has $190 million. Schumer told New York Daily News that in 2016 the NYPD received $180 million in DHS grants for the same kind of programs and operations that would be defunded under the currently proposed budget plan, which means that all or most of what the NYPD has to support their counterterrorism programs would be taken away.

This came shortly before a terror attack in London this week. New York City and the NYPD responded by ramping up security at its British locations, according to Newsday. The British Consulate General and the U.K. Mission to the U.N. are just two locations that have been given extra security. Most of the security for these locations came from the NYPD’s Critical Response Command, a team that would greatly feel the weight of the budget cuts, along with other crucial counterterrorism programs. Schumer has been successful in stopping these kinds of budget cuts to the city in the past, and we can only hope he and Commissioner O’Neill are successful in stopping this now.

Please see the articles below for sources and further information.

London attack: NYPD steps up security at British locations in NYC

EXCLUSIVE: NYPD top cop James O’Neill visits Washington to battle Trump’s security funding cuts

NYPD top cop James O’Neill says Trump’s budget would severely impede the city’s fight against terrorism

Schumer: Trump would cut $200M from NYPD anti-terrorism, other funds

NYPD Commissioner Says Trump’s Budget Would ‘Hobble’ Counterterrorism Efforts

 

New FDNY methods, programs improve performance

For the first time, the FDNY deployed one of its three drones over a fire in the Bronx. Having a birds-eye view helped the crew on the ground monitor the safety of the group trying to control the fire, as well as letting them better direct them as well. This ultimately lead to the ground team being able to keep firefighters safeThe drone was manned by firefighters who are part of the FDNY Command Tactical Unit, who are trained specifically to operate the drones. An article posted on www1.nyc.gov goes into greater detail, stating, “The FDNY drone is tethered using a small cable that carries electricity up to the device, which gives the drone an unlimited flight time. The drone can stay aloft for as long as necessary to keep an aerial view on the target. All controls, data, and power transmit back and forth through the tether preventing interference with radio frequency signals. The drone is piloted by specially trained FDNY Firefighters from the Department’s Command Tactical Unit. The Department currently has three drones in its fleet to deploy as needed.” The safety of these firefighters and individuals alike is paramount to the FDNY, and new technology has only helped that cause.

The use of their drones is not the only new method they’ve used. The FDNY has recently reported being able to respond to medical emergencies quicker due to ‘fly cars’. The pilot program, which took off last summer according to the New York Post, has cut response time by more than a minute. As detailed by an article on NY Post, “Fly cars are accompanied by pared down “basic life support” ambulances, which can transport people to the hospital. If the fly car’s paramedic and lieutenant are no longer needed to perform first aid, they can then move on to the next emergency.”

FDNY commissioner touts faster response times with ‘fly cars’

FDNY Launches Drone For The First Time To Respond to Fire In The Bronx

Work site safety hazards results in lawsuit

A Long Island man has suffered two severed nerves and three severed veins after falling from part of a construction work site that lacked a secure and safe exit point. According to DNAinfo.com, Michael Hickey was injured while working in 2015 on the new water tunnel that will soon connect Staten Island and Brooklyn. “The suit claims the city failed to provide a “scaffold, ladder and/or other safety device” to help workers climb out of the tunnel during construction. Workers instead had to climb a patch of land that had “slick, slippery rocks hidden beneath muck and unlevel, hole-laden, raised depressed and obscured surface,” as quoted from DNAinfo.com. The suit was filed against the city for $2 million. Due to the severity of his injuries, Hickey was unable to continue his work at the construction site. The article notes that Hickey’s lawsuit was transferred on February 25th, 2017 to a Staten Island court after it was initially filed in Brooklyn.

Work site safety in the construction industry has been a topic of severity for the past few years. It recently came to a head in January when 21 new bills were introduced to bolster work site safety. To further reflect the importance of this, an article posted on NYDailynews.com states “Incidents involving either fatalities or injuries jumped from 128 in 2011 to 435 in 2015 in the state as a whole. Meanwhile, the number of safety inspections by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the state fell each year, from 2,722 in 2011 to 1,966 in 2015, the study found. That’s a drop of about 27%, and the study said that’s mostly because of a reduction in the number of OSHA inspectors in New York State — from 82 in 2012 to 66 in 2015.”

This is all came prior to a bill recently submitted by  Housing and Building Committee Chair Jumaane Williams and Councilmember Carlos Menchaca, along with the support of other City officials, to help mandate better safety training and skills for workers.

Please see the links below for more information.

City Forced Workers to Scale Muddy Bank to Exit Water Tunnel, Lawsuit Says

City Council can protect NYC workers from construction accidents by mandating better training

 

 

 

Neighborhood Policing initiative receives $20 Mil budget

In the wake of a newly ratified NYPD PBA contract, the NYPD just received a hefty budget for their Queens precincts to bolster Mayor de Blasio’s Neighborhood Policing Initiative. The new PBA contract includes a 2.25% raise as part of the program but will be going to all officers regardless of their participation. According to an article posted on AM New York, the breakdown of the budget is as follows;

  • Just over half of the budget will be going to purchasing vehicles for all Queens precincts-164 total vehicles.
  • Close to $3 Million will be spent on technology for recruits and their superiors, specifically tablets.
  • Over $2 Million will be spent on replacing old AEDs with new ones.
  • $1.6 Million will be spent on providing NYPD members with safer gun holsters.

Please see the link below for more information.

NYPD gets more than $20M for new equipment in Queens precincts

 

PBA contract ratified

On February 27th, the previously tentative agreement between the City and the PBA was ratified. This is the first time in 5 years that the PBA has been under a union contract. It gives the current NYPD officers a total 11.25% raise over the life of the contract, but also ultimately lowers the pay for future officers, according to an article posted on The Chief Leader. The raise that current cops get will cause future cops to take longer to get to the maximum salary.  The article notes that “The pact also features a significantly improved disability benefit for cops hired after 2009 and gives all officers the right to cash in all unused leave days once they exit the NYPD. It also implements the city’s body-camera program, which will expand to affect 5,000 patrol officers by July 2018 and require all those on patrol to wear and operate them by the end of the following year.” According to the New York Daily News, ¾ disability pensions will be made available to new PBA members with as low as 1% employee contribution. This is a success for Mayor de Blasio, who has recently had a rocky relationship with the NYPD. The agreement was reached February 27th with an overwhelming amount of union members participating in the vote and just 2% of members voting against the contract. The agreement also requires all officers to be fitted with body cameras by 2019.

PBA Pact Ratified By 98% of Members Due To Added Pay Hike

PBA Contract Ballots Mailed Out, Must Be Returned by Feb. 27

MTA, TWU Local 100 Contract ratified

The contract between the MTA and TWU Local 100 was formally ratified February 15th by the union’s rank-and-file members. The contract was approved by union members by a 70-30 margin according to the TWU Local 100 website. When the contract was still in the voting process, the union’s Executive Board voted 37-6 in favor of the agreement. Union members who are employed by MTA-NYCT, MTA Bus, and MTA-MABSTOA are covered under the 28-month deal. Tentatively agreed upon before the retirement of former MTA CEO and Chairman Tom Prendergast, the deal was reached just hours after its expiration in January.

Some of the perks according to sources are:

  • 2.5% raise retroactive to January 15th, a year after the expiration of the former contract, culminating in a 5% raise over the life of the contract.
  • $500 bonus for the final two months of the contract.
  • Commuter rail passes for employees who live in the city as well as improved shoes that can stand up to their work environment.
  • Construction improvements for workplace facilities.
  • “..fully protects their health coverage and wins important medical benefit gains without the concessions that are enshrined in city and state public sector patterns. It secures an unprecedented “me too” wage guarantee with the LIRR unions, which have the right to strike and are governed by federal law and wage patterns set by the national freight and commuter railroad sectors.”, as quoted by TWU Local 100 President John Samuelsen on the Union’s website.

The Union’s President also further assured members by stating in the same article, “The contract does not lock us into a long-term commitment, which provides an important hedge against any unforeseen spike in inflation. For the first time, this contract has secured an agreement from the MTA to hire and utilize in house forces to retrofit the older parts of the transit infrastructure to provide clean, comfortable and safe crew areas for our sisters in transit.” This is referring to the reported 100 or more members that will be added to the construction crew that will be improving the work facilities. Please read the articles below for more information.

Members Vote 70-30 to Ratify New Contract with the MTA

NYC transit workers ratify new MTA contract increasing raises

 

75 new detectives to protect the Bronx

New York City and the NYPD has stated a victory in finding that the number of homicides has gone down, but in the case of what has become New York’s most violent borough-the Bronx-the NYPD has gone to new lengths to bring it up to par with Manhattan and the rest of the five boroughs.

According to the New York Times, the NYPD announced last week that they would be sending close to 80 new investigators to the Bronx. A study published by New York Times analyzed deployment data showing that officers in the Bronx dealt with the highest felony caseloads in the five boroughs. The New York Times study published just a few weeks prior to this announcement determined that “Precinct Detectives in the Bronx last year carried out more than twice as many violent felony cases on average as detectives in Manhattan or Staten Island, and over 50 percent more than those in Brooklyn or Queens.”, noted in the article linked below. The study also showed that budgetary resources are being invested elsewhere, such as counter-terrorism instead of the deployment of officers. This ultimately resulted in the Bronx not feeling the same relief of lower crime rates that were felt in Manhattan and the rest of New York City. The decision to deploy the 75 white-shield investigators, who are on track to become gold shield detectives, has been met with support from NYPD officials and the Bronx District Attorney as well as criticism from other New York City public officials. Letitia James, the City’s public advocate, expressed that this problem in the Bronx had been ignored for too long. The NYPD Chief of Detectives, Robert Boyce, has told New York Times that the deployment should be underway by the end of the month.

Within the last year, there has been a growing trend of readjusting the staff of jails and prisons to keep the facilities safer for both Correction’s Officers and inmates, and a trend of public employee reform in general. This year began with legislative measures being announced to protect transportation workers and construction workers, and it looks like this trend has now transferred over to the Police Departments. This also comes in the wake of the new contract agreement between Mayor de Blasio and the PBA, the first in 5 years.

Police to Strengthen Force in New Yorks’ Most violent Borough

MTA gets First Female Interim Executive Director

2016 wrapped up successfully for the MTA and their former CEO and Chairman, Tom Prendergast. Two successes, namely, were the construction of the Second Avenue Subway and the tentative contract agreement with the TWU Local 100. Now, with a new year and new posts to fill, the nation’s largest transportation system will see their first female Interim Executive Director, Veronique Hakim.

Veronique Hakim has been appointed to the leading position from Governor Cuomo. Hakim has close to 30 years of experience with public transportation, not just at the MTA but also with New Jersey Turnpike Authority and New Jersey Transit. She served as Executive Director of the NJTA in 2010 and was named to lead the NJT in 2014. This is no small feat, considering NJ Transit is the largest statewide public transit system in the nation. Hakim had a hand in integrating the MetroCard into the subway systems along with leading several large construction projects as Executive Vice President and General Counsel. In handling the MTA’s multibillion-dollar construction program, not only did she oversee the creation of the Second Avenue Subway Station, but also the LIRR East Side Access and the Number 7 Subway Extension. She is also currently the President of New York City Transit, a position Prendergast was in before he was Chairman and CEO of the MTA. In an article on TheCheifLeader.com, Governor Cuomo gives his praise. “Ronnie Hakim is ready to embrace the challenge of running the nation’s largest transportation network during this transition,” Mr. ­Cuomo said in a statement. “She is a true transportation professional who has dedicated her life to improving the commute for millions of New Yorkers, and I am confident that in this new role she will continue doing that as we reimagine and modernize the MTA for the 21st century.”, Cuomo said to The Chief Leader.

Please see the article linked below for further information.

Cuomo Gives Hakim Shot To Take Helm at MTA

 

 

Nassau County COBA fighting poor jail searches

An internal investigation into a former Nassau County jail nurse has reportedly been mishandled and Nassau County COBA President is fighting for answers.  After a long series of letters, articles, press conferences, and investigations, former Nassau County Jail nurse Chantiel Cox was charged and arrested February 3rd, 2017 for smuggling contraband to inmates.

Nassau County COBA President Brian Sullivan received a series of letters from the Nassau County DA’s office painting a disturbing picture of an obstructed internal investigation of the former nurse. She and two other accomplices were allegedly smuggling razorblades, cellphones, synthetic drugs and other items to inmates. She initially was fired, without charges, from the jail following an internal investigation of the smuggling ring. Prosecutors weren’t formally made aware of the internal investigation. According to a video from Ucomm.com of a press conference that took place last month, the Nassau County DA found out through outside sources and then demanded a briefing from jail administration.  Following the briefing, the DA’s office conducted its own investigation and then later arrested and charged Cox.  An article on Ucomm.com paints a history of negligent facility searches and a general trend of searches being carried out poorly when violent situations arise. The same article states that for nearly a year after having knowledge that the nurse in question was bringing contraband into the correctional facility, there was no facility-wide search ordered for weapons, drugs, cell phones or other items.

A series of letters from the Nassau DA’s office sent to the Nassau County COBA President dating back to December of 2015, as referenced by Newsday, is what set the Union’s appeal for another investigation into motion. Prosecutors learned of the smuggling ring in December 2015 after the DA’s office was alerted by outside sources about the scheme. Chief Assistant DA, Albert Teichman, followed up by saying that not only was the investigation immediately conducted but that even though the sheriff’s initial investigation was mishandled, “the failures were non-criminal”. Ultimately, he later stated that he also asked County Attorney Carnell Foskey that all county agencies be reminded the police or prosecutors ” must be notified of any potential criminal investigation”, as quoted from the Newsday article about this case published in January. There was no question during this correspondence that the DA’s office or police should have been formally and properly consulted about the initial internal investigation.

The mishandled investigation into this matter only facilitates the unsafe landscapes of jails for inmates and correctional staff alike. If individuals who work inside these correctional facilities are overworked and understaffed, it creates a dangerous environment. Someone taking advantage of their access to secured and controlled spaces to further distribute materials, some that inmates can make in the jail without outside help, perpetuates the already vicious cycle of violence in jails. For more information about this case, please see the links below.

 

Correction officers union calls for probe of Nassau sheriff’s office

DA: Jail contraband probe involving nurse ‘mishandled’ internally

When the Sheriff Obstructs Justice

Nassau COBA holds Press Conference at the Nassau Legislature