New York City Police Department Commissioner Bill Bratton visited a City Island town hall meeting where he shared his vision for the department moving forward.
Commissioner Bratton answered pre-submitted questions about policing, speaking for about 30 minutes to a packed crowd inside of P.S. 175 on Tuesday, July 28.
It was Bratton’s first visit to the island, he said.
The commissioner lauded the most recent police budget, calling it the best in 15 years, referencing the increased funding for law enforcement and the first increase in manpower over that time.
He highlighted a range of initiatives the department is undertaking, including:
• allocating 400 officers specifically for counterterrorism operations, to free up other officers to patrol neighborhoods.
• ending the removal of two officers from both day and evening tours from precincts for counter-terrorism operations, resulting in an extra police car on the beat two shifts per day.
• installing Global Positioning Systems in every police vehicle, and equipping officers with tablets and smartphones, allowing cops to file reports from the field.
• hiring roughly 450 civilians to fill jobs currently being performed by police officers, so they can be reassigned to actual policing.
• combatting ISIS, which Bratton said can recruit individuals via social media for acts of terror.
Bratton also announced, as reported in the Bronx Times Reporter in December, that Rodman’s Neck firing range will remain completely open.
Many in the community believed the range would significantly reduce operations when city officials said in 2007 and later that an indoor firing range would be included in the new police academy opening soon in College Point, Queens.
A group of residents living nearby have been concerned about noise and other issues for decades.
The commissioner said that the opportunity to relocate the range had been lost when the funds needed for a proposed indoor firing range were never appropriated.
Instead the NYPD will spend $150 million to renovate the Rodman’s Neck facility, he said, which is in poor condition.
The town hall meeting with the police commissioner was arranged by Bill Stanton, the president of the City Island Civic Association.
Senator Jeff Klein and Councilman James Vacca attended.
Bob Bieder, president of the 45th Precinct Community Council, said that he was particularly pleased to hear about increased manpower at the local level.
“The one thing that I was thrilled to hear was that there will be an extra car available for shifts because they won’t be pulling them for the counterterrorism detail,” said Bieder, adding that he was happy to see an overall trend in the NYPD toward community policing.
He added that in some communities some people are afraid of police and that if the community gets to know the officers on patrol it might be beneficial.
As for Rodman’s Neck, John Doyle, the corresponding secretary of the CICA and a board member of the 45th Precinct Community Council, said that he wanted to find out more about what the commissioner said regarding the facility.
“Every police commissioner since the Dinkins Administration has promised some substantive improvement regarding noise in Rodman’s Neck, and that has yet to occur,” said Doyle.
He also lauded the increased amount of cops that should be on patrol in the precinct.
Two protestors twice briefly stopped the meeting, and a small group of protesters demonstrated against NYPD tactics outside of the school during Bratton’s visit.