Following a protest in Ozone Park’s Liberty Avenue Plaza on Nov. 8 to demand more attention from the 102nd, 106th and 75th police precincts, Queens South Assistant Chief David Barrere held an emergency meeting on Nov. 12 with community representatives and electeds to address their concerns.
In what was described as a productive meeting, the NYPD promised to implement a mobile command center on Liberty Avenue starting immediately, in addition to working toward other long-term community demands like additional lighting, security cameras and police outreach.
The NYPD parks mobile command centers in high-crime areas of the city. The vehicles which are about the size of an RV, are operated 24/7 by a police officer.
The decision to implement one along Liberty Avenue came after a series of violent attacks, several involving Muslim and Bangladeshi members of the community, that occurred along the strip over the past several months.
Members of Community Boards 9 and 10, along with representatives from the three police precincts, plan to do a walkthrough on Liberty Avenue Thursday afternoon in order to identify spots to add lighting and cameras.
Community members raised their frustrations with long police response times, which stem partly from the area’s split between three different police precincts. One business owner recounted calling the police and being bounced between precincts before anyone would respond to his complaint.
Chief Barrere said he would work on the coordination between the three precincts.
Together, neighbors and NYPD representatives agreed they need to reduce the immigrant community’s fear that police responders would ask for their immigration status. The NYPD said that they could print flyers and brochures in Bengali that would educate residents on their rights to be distributed by civic associations.
“It was a very encouraging meeting. We are very happy to see tangible results being delivered,” said Mike Scala, legal counsel and advisor to the Ozone Park Block Association.