The law and order campaign of longtime prosecutor James Quinn picked up the endorsement of the Correction Officer Benevolent Association in the Queens borough president’s race Thursday. New York City’s COBA is the second largest municipal jail union in the nation and the second largest law enforcement union in the city, representing 9,000 officers.
The endorsement was made at the site of the proposed Queens jail project in Kew Gardens that is part of the city’s deal to close the prison complex on Rikers Island. Quinn, who spent 42 years in the Queens District Attorney’s office and served as Executive Assistant ADA under the late DA Richard Brown, is the only candidate who opposes closing Rikers, building the new jail in Kew Gardens and the new bail reform law.
“It’s a tremendous honor to receive the support of New York City correction officers. I know firsthand that these men and women have one of the most dangerous jobs in the city, but every day they answer the call to duty,” Quinn said. “Out of touch politicians like Mayor de Blasio and the radical City Council are more concerned with their political agenda than doing what’s best for the public safety. If I’m elected, I pledge to the people of Queens that I will not allow this dangerous, ill-conceived jail to be built in the heart of our community. This endorsement sends a loud and clear message that we are on the side of safety and common sense.”
COBA president Elias Husamudeen and Quinn oppose closing Rikers Island and have long called for improving safety measures there by turning it into a world-class facility that protects both correction officers and inmates. They noted the city’s plan to close Rikers is dependent on reducing the inmate population to roughly 3,000 through the recently enacted bail reforms.
Of the city’s annual arrests, approximately 40,000 are rearrested from two to seven times annually, according to Quinn’s campaign.
“The location of a jail doesn’t determine how safe a jail is, it’s the management policies that determine how safe a jail is,” Husamudeen said. “The city’s $10 billion plan to close Rikers Island and to build four new jails in the boroughs ignores the irrefutable statistics on jail violence, which has increased steadily over the past four years, including at our current borough facilities. The future of Queens starts with a safe Queens, and that’s why we are proud and enthusiastic to endorse Jim Quinn to be the next borough president.”
Husamudeen added, “Jim has spent his entire career dedicated to the safety and security of Queens residents and has always appreciated the role our members play in maintaining public safety. He is running for Queens borough president because he understands the impact these radical proposals will have on this community. We urge everyone who values safe communities to vote on March 24 for Jim Quinn.”
Councilman Robert Holden lended his support to Quinn’s campaign.
“Oue city is at a crossroads and if we don’t fight against these radical proposals, our jobs and our residents are going to flee the city,” Holden said. “I’m working hard on the City Council, but I need a partner in the Queens borough president who can help, and the only candidate in the race who has the experience and the backbone to help me is Jim Quinn.”