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If you think you’ll be seeing more cops walking the beat this summer – think again.
Precincts in southern Brooklyn will be getting a pittance of new officers as just 26 of the 256−strong police academy graduating class are assigned to Patrol Borough Brooklyn South.
The tiny class, which began their instruction in January, threw up their gloves at a graduation ceremony on July 2, yet the class was so small that the NYPD opted to hold inside the WAMU theater inside Madison Square Garden rather than the Garden itself, as they traditionally do.
The next day, the 26 new officers assigned to Patrol Borough Brooklyn South held their orientation at the Shomrim headquarters on Ocean Avenue. Usually, the orientation is held at Floyd Bennett Field.
The number of new officers pales in comparison to the 200 cops that were funneled into southern Brooklyn in July 2008. That year, over 1,000 cadets graduated from the police academy.
Out of 200 dispatched to Patrol Borough Brooklyn South, close to 80 of them were sent to Flatbush, where they were part of a special Impact Zone.
Police sources said that most likely the 26 new officers they received will also be sent to Impact Zones, meaning they won’t be found on the streets of Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst, Canarsie, Carroll Gardens or Park Slope, where such specialty zones aren’t needed.
Current Impact Zones can be found in Flatbush and East Flatbush.
Yet Deputy Inspector Ralph Monteforte, the commanding officer of the 70th Precinct in Flatbush, said this week that he hasn’t seen the new officers.
“We still have the ones we had just a week ago,” he said.
If they are doled out among the 13 precincts in Brooklyn South, that means that just two new officers will be coming to each command – which some believe will affect resident’s quality of life.
“This is obviously not going to make any impact on the head count at the 68th and 62nd Precincts,” said City Councilman Vincent Gentile, who quarrelled with Mayor Michael Bloomberg to get the 256 academy class. (When the class was about to be called in December, Bloomberg, citing fiscal constraints, said he wasn’t going to hold an academy class in 2009. He ultimately agreed to have two academy classes of 250 apiece). “This is exactly what I predicted. I knew that if we had an academy class this small, this is exactly what would happen.”
Gentile said that borough precincts would be lucky to get one new officer since half of them will be assigned to Impact Zones or other units.
“Since we don’t have an Impact Zone, we’re going to suffer,” he said. “[The lack of cops] is going to affect our quality of life.”
The prospect of more cops coming to the borough in January is also looking bleak.
As this paper went to press, Bloomberg, this time citing the inaction in the State Senate, ordered a hiring freeze for all city agencies including the NYPD.
“We have a legal mandate to produce a balanced budget,” the mayor said in the statement, “so we have to act responsibly.”
In response, Police commissioner Raymond W. Kelly, called on Albany legislators to get their act together.
“It is painfully obvious that gridlock in Albany has real−life consequences,” he said. “We hope the problem is addressed soon so we can start training the police officers we need.”
If the freeze holds, then the academy class expected to be sworn in this week won’t be called.
Gentile said that the mayor is starting to sound like Chicken Little.
“He’s running around screaming, ‘The sky is falling,’” he said. “But he’s overstating the need to have a hiring freeze. Because of what’s going on in Albany, the city is losing about $60 million a month and that’s nothing to sneeze at, but when you take into account that we have a $60 billion budget, we won’t have to start hiring freezes for at least a couple of more months.”
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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