The city’s top cop, Police Commissioner James O’Neill, paid a visit to Woodhaven on Tuesday evening to take questions from the residents and update them on important police initiatives such as the Neighborhood Policing Program, which would bring patrol cops back to the streets.
It was standing room only at the American Legion Post 118 as residents from across the borough filled the small space to hear what O’Neill had to say.
O’Neill announced that neighborhood policing would soon come to the 102nd Precinct, which patrols Woodhaven and other surrounding communities.
Neighborhood policing involves the same cops being assigned to the same sectors every day in order to foster a better relationship between the police force and the community. Eventually, all NYPD precincts will have this program in place, according to O’Neill.
“In 43 out of the 77 precincts, we are up and running with neighborhood policing,” O’Neill said. “We are giving our cops the opportunity to go out there and meet the people they are sworn to protect and serve.”
One of the most important things a neighborhood policing program would bring about, according to O’Neill, is the fact that nearly one-third of an officer’s day where they would normally be answering 911 calls would now be dedicated to talking to people, meeting the residents of the neighborhood, and attending important community meetings.
The Neighborhood Policing program will involve cops patrolling the community in their vehicles as well as walking the beat.
“Neighborhood policing is our way forward,” O’Neill said.
The commissioner also noted that the number of police officers on patrol throughout the city is climbing back up with the addition of approximately 2,000 officers for a total of about 36,000 cops.
O’Neill also answered residents’ questions regarding the NYPD’s recent change on the issuance of civil summonses over criminal summonses for minor infractions. He said that police have the ability to use their own discretion in handing out summonses to individuals.
Bob Monahan, president of the Greater Ridgewood Youth Council (GRYC) probed the Commissioner on if the NYPD can get more funding for youth programs such as the Police Athletic League (PAL) and the Explorers Program which introduces youths to the police force.
“There might be some funding available,” O’Neill responded. “There’s a lot of things the NYPD does for young people. We have the Explorer Program … we also have a youth camp that we bring kids away to.”
The special meeting with O’Neill was put together by Assemblyman Mike Miller and the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association (WRBA).