The 45th Precinct won’t get their narcotics unit back, but at least they’ll have help on call.
That’s the response from Police Commissioner Ray Kelly to a plea by the local community board.
Board 10 chairman John Marano said the written response from Kelly came after the board sent a letter and petition calling for the return of the narcotics unit.
Instead, Marano said a sergeant in the narcotics division will be designated as a liaison to the community board to hear complaints of drug conditions and temporarily assign narcotics officers for specific operations.
Until the fall of 2011, the 45th Precinct had its own team of a sergeant and about five detectives to deal specifically with local drug crime.
But it has since had to share a narcotics module with the higher-crime 43rd Precinct in Soundview.
“Being that there were budget cuts, they outright told me that they were not going to replace it at this time,” said Marano. “Their excuse is that the drug sales that occur in the precinct were not violent drug sales. But what does that matter? We have drug sales here and it is affecting our quality of life.”
Precincts that have higher amounts of narcotics crime certainly deserve a great deal of attention, said Marano, but ignoring drug sales in the 45th Precinct is just causing more crimes to go unreported.
Much of the drug sales in the precinct occur less out in the open, said Marano, a former NYPD officer who was assigned to the narcotics unit for two years.
In other precincts with higher crime rates you may see youth on street corners selling drugs, but in the 45th Precinct, he said, it is a completely different ball game.
“People are going into houses and apartment buildings to deal drugs,” said Marano. “They are doing car-to-car deals and using PayPal [an online payment system].”
Marano said he still believes the police department needs to assign a narcotics module only for the 45th Precinct, but if they cannot do that, he is asking the NYPD to consider giving borough commanders the flexibility to assign additional police personnel to the precinct on a temporary basis - perhaps even a group of officers and a sergeant from Operation Impact - a program which targets higher crime precincts by sweeping 50 to 60 officers in at a time.
At Board 10’s September general meeting, both Council Speaker and mayoral contender Christine Quinn and Councilman Jimmy Vacca said they were asking the NYPD to restore the module.Patrick Rocchio can be reach via e-mail at procchio@c