Howard Beach Lindenwood Civic Association proposes establishing private community security program with off-duty NYPD officers

The Howard Beach Lindenwood Civic Association is proposing the establishment of a private community security program through the NYPD’s Paid Detail Program. (File photo by Dean Moses)

Approximately 100 residents tuned into the Howard Beach Lindenwood Civic Association’s virtual meeting held on Tuesday, Jan. 10, to discuss the idea of establishing a private community security program, following concerns of public safety along Crossbay Boulevard and throughout the community.

During a presentation, Phyllis Inserillo, co-president of the Howard Beach Lindenwood Civic Association, introduced the NYPD’s Paid Detail Program, an organized program for uniformed NYPD off-duty employment. According to Inserillo, the officer will be armed and patrolling Crossbay Boulevard.

“If an arrest is made, the local precinct will intercept after the initial arrest, so the paid officer doesn’t have to leave Howard Beach,” Inserillo said. “This officer doesn’t come with summonses — he doesn’t summon illegally double parked cars. He’s there as a presence in the community to make sure that major criminal activity is boarded off.” 

The program is coordinated by the NYPD’s Paid Detail Unit, according to NYC.gov. The police officers are taken from a database of available volunteers. These officers are then pre-screened and the Paid Detail Unit makes specific assignments. Anyone assigned is an active, armed, full-duty NYPD officer and has been trained by the NYPD. 

All Paid Detail police officers are considered off-duty, acting as private contractors. In compliance with federal tax regulations, vendors may be required to forward a 1099 form at the end of each year to each officer who provided service, in care of the Paid Detail Unit.

The officers will report in full uniform to the location designated by the vendor for check-in and assignment. The vendors will provide a schedule of tours, which can be day or night. The minimum shift is four hours per week. Long events can be broken into multiple tours. It can take approximately eight to 12 weeks for approval through the unit.  

In her presentation, Inserillo announced three cost estimate options for the Paid Detail Program:

To have an armed police officer for five days a week, five hours per day, the cost is $45.10 an hour, which comes out to $1,127.50, plus a 10% processing fee to the Paid Detail Unit. This  brings the cost to $1,240.25 per week, with a salary of $64,493 per year. 

If residents would like to have a police officer patrolling the area seven days a week for five hours per day, the cost is $45.10 an hour, which comes out to $1,578.50, plus a 10% processing fee to the Paid Detail Unit. This brings the cost $1,736.35 per week, with a salary of $90,290.20 per year. 

The last grouping includes seven days a week, eight hours per day, at $45.10 per hour, which comes out to $2,525.60, plus a 10% processing fee to the Paid Detail Unit. This brings the cost to $2,525.60 per week, with a salary of $131,331.20 per year. 

Inserillo introduced another option, which is a paid uniformed security program, that includes an unarmed security guard patrolling the area in a car for a minimum of 40 hours per week. However, the security guard cannot get out of the vehicle and interact with the person, or make an arrest. 

“Their presence is meant to be a deterrent. The guard will call 911 if criminal activity is suspected,” Inserillo said. “The resident can call a dispatcher of the company who will then contact the guard who will respond to the location. The resident must call 911 first.”

The cost estimate for the paid uniformed security program is as follows:

Seven days a week, six hours per day (from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m.), at $39.90 per hour with $1,675.80 per week, with an annual salary of $87,141.60 per year. 

Seven days a week, seven hours per day (from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.), at $39.90 per hour with $1,955.10 per week, with an annual salary of $101,665.20 per year. 

For seven days a week, eight hours per day (from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.), at $39.90 per hour with $2,234.40 per week, with an annual salary of $116, 188.80 per year. 

These prices are based on having one security guard and car to patrol Howard Beach, according to Inserillo.  

In Howard Beach, according to Inserillo, there are approximately 7,500 households. The Howard Beach Lindenwood Civic Association would need a minimum of 650 (less than 9%) of households to participate in the lowest cost program. A maximum of 1,165 (about 15%) of households would be needed for the highest cost program. Each household would contribute $100 per year toward the security guard and car or the Paid Detail Unit. 

Inserillo encouraged all attendees to share the information with their neighbors, as the civic will be taking a vote on the program at its next meeting being held on Jan. 31 at 7 p.m. at the St. Helen Catholic Academy. 

She is also advising residents to speak up and ask elected officials who legislate with the governor to request the necessary changes to the bail reform law “that will put people behind bars that do not belong walking our streets.”

“We have a job to do as the people who love this city and who love Howard Beach. You have to write letters and make phone calls. If these laws do not change, perpetrators will continue to feel free to act as they have been,” Inserillo said. 

According to Inserillo, the civic association will email a sample letter to residents to send to their elected officials requesting necessary changes to the laws that will protect the public and allow police officers to do their jobs. The civic has also been working closely with Councilwoman Joann Ariola and NYPD 106th Precinct Commanding Officer Captain Jerome Bacchi to secure a police presence in the community.

The 106th Precinct serves the communities of Ozone Park, South Ozone Park, Lindenwood, Howard Beach and Old Howard Beach. 

During the meeting, Bacchi announced that the precinct understands the complaints and concerns of the public regarding the disorderly conduct of groups along Crossbay Boulevard and teenagers riding illegal dirt bikes and ATVs in a school playground. 

“These are local kids who are creating the disturbance and we’ve identified some of them,” Bacchi said. “The Youth Coordination Officers will be visiting the parents of these individuals to let the parents know what their children are doing that’s causing all of this disorder in the community.”

Additionally, Bacchi said, the precinct has also put together an apprehension plan utilizing the Neighborhood Coordination Officers (NCOs) and the public safety officers patrolling in marked and unmarked vehicles in Howard Beach. 

“If we catch the people riding the illegal dirt bikes and ATVs, they will receive summonses and, if necessary, arrests. Those vehicles will be seized and confiscated. No matter what documentation you provide, you will not get those vehicles back,” Bacchi said. 

In response to the disorderly conduct along Crossbay Boulevard, Bacchi said the precinct has received nine new police officers who will be assigned to a field training unit for six months, which will begin next week. 

“You will see officers on foot patrol along Crossbay Boulevard. We’re not going to basically divulge the schedule of when you’ll see them out there, but they will be out there to enhance the presence along Crossbay Boulevard to deter any acts of disorder, and to engage more with the community and provide a more safe environment along Crossbay Boulevard,” Bacchi said.

Ariola, who has met with Bacchi and spoke with the new police officers assigned to the precinct, commended Bacchi for working creatively with the officers he has to make sure each sector is covered. 

“We’re never going to see any major improvements in terms of public safety until we actually start getting more uniformed police officers on the streets,” Ariola told QNS. “In the 106th Precinct, for example, I was able to secure 20 new officers for the area, but we lost 42 through resignation and retirement, so the command is still in a deficit for personnel. Capt. Bacchi is doing a great job with what he has, but ultimately he can only do so much when he is so short-staffed.” 

In regards to the Howard Beach Lindenwood Civic Association’s proposal to establish a private security program, Ariola said she will support the community’s decision whichever way they vote. 

“I will say that the presence of any kind of properly trained, licensed and bonded personnel can help things, as they can serve as a possible deterrent for would-be criminals, and as an extra set of eyes and ears for the police in the area,” Ariola said.