A plan is in the works that could lead to a greater police presence on City Island during the peak tourism periods.
The City Island Chamber of Commerce and City Island Civic Association met recently with NYPD officials regarding the possible creation of a ‘paid detail’ of off-duty police officers to work in cafeteria-style restaurants during busy times.
The officers would be paid by the local eateries to complement existing security when they are not on the clock at the NYPD.
The plan’s details, including who would be liable for any confrontations, are still being worked out, said Gerard “Skip” Giacco, CICC president.
“There is no objection to it, but its needs to be done in a way that protects the merchants from liability,” said Giacco, adding that the plan could come to fruition if the restaurant owners would not bear any or would carry minimized liability from any confrontations arising between these off-duty cops employed by the restaurants and anyone else.
“If the positives outweigh the negatives, we will talk about it further,” added Giacco.
The meeting comes after renewed openness to the idea from the NYPD, said John Doyle, CICA corresponding secretary, who added that his group was very grateful to the police department for looking at the idea from a fresh perspective. It has been a non-starter for years, he added.
Meeting attendees included representatives from NYPD community affairs and 45th Precinct commanding officer Deputy Inspector Danielle Raia, as well as representatives from Seafood City, Don Coqui and Johnny’s Reef, said Doyle.
“We are hopeful that the major stakeholders can come together,” he said. “Whether you own a business or live on City Island, we all share the same general goal: we want to be people to be able to travel on City Island safely and we want the area to be secure.”
A paid detail can go a long way to accomplishing goals of both the businesses and the community, said Doyle, adding that while the idea is still being developed, everything has to start somewhere.
After discussion with the security personnel from some of the restaurants, it was apparent that a contingent of four or five officers would be necessary, said Giacco.
This is important because if a police officer removes someone from a restaurant, additional officers could be needed to make sure the ejected people do not continue problematic behavior out on the street, he said.
The chamber president added that a NYPD paid detail would be tasked with maintaining order, and that the discussions are recognition that when you have many people in a small space, as is the case with many of the island’s eateries, there is the potential for issues.
John Marano, Community Board 10 vice-chairman, community activist and a former police officer, said that he believes that the police department and the businesses on City Island working together regarding a paid detail is mutually beneficial.
“When that happens, it benefits everyone,” said Marano. “It shows that that the restaurants are taking a proactive approach and are working out the concerns of residents of City Island.”