A new pilot program spearheaded by the NYPD’s 104th Precinct Commanding Officer, Deputy Inspector Kevin Coleman, allows traffic enforcement agents to address parking-related 311 complaints directly in the neighborhoods of Ridgewood, Maspeth, Middle Village and Glendale.
Deputy Inspector Kevin Coleman said in an exclusive interview with QNS that the addition of traffic enforcement agents to the precinct should benefit both residents and the officers who responded to 311 complaints.
“I wanted to implement some type of plan that can reduce response times, as well as free up cops to address other conditions and crime,” Coleman said.
Traffic enforcement agents are not normally assigned to handle 311 calls. Instead, officers out on patrol are tasked with promptly responding to these complaints, regardless of the severity of the situation.
The program officially began in mid-October of this year and was presented to NYPD top brass as a method of better tacking the abundance of 311 complaints in the 104th Precinct, Coleman explained.
Last year alone, there were over 43,000 calls made to 311 regarding quality-of-life complaints for the neighborhoods in the 104th Precinct, according to Coleman. Out of the roughly 43,000 311 complaints for last year, nearly 70% were parking-related.
At the volume of 311 complaints so far this year, the number is expected to be higher than that of last year by Dec. 31, 2023, Coleman predicts.
“With the pilot program, we want to determine the feasibility and effectiveness of utilizing traffic enforcement agents to handle these parking-related 311 service requests,” Coleman told QNS.
As part of the pilot program, three traffic enforcement agents will be assigned to answer illegal parking complaints, including signage like no parking, no standing to the signs, blocked fire hydrants, blocked crosswalks, and blocked driveways.
Traffic enforcement agents are expected to work 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. throughout the week, with two cars scheduled for the weekend, Coleman said. A supervisor will also accompany the added traffic enforcement officers.
Abandoned vehicles, another common 311 complaint for the 104th Precinct, sometimes categorized as a derelict vehicle — depending on the physical state of the vehicle, whether the vehicle has proper license plates and registration — involves the Department of Sanitation.
Regardless of the circumstances of abandoned vehicle complaints, police officers will continue to respond rather than the traffic enforcement agents, since most jobs require a tow truck, Coleman explained.
“We don’t want to tie down the traffic agents with anything like that,” Coleman said. “We want the traffic agents to be responding to these basic illegal parking jobs so they can go there, write the summons and then move on to the next one.”
There is no set end date for the pilot program. The deputy inspector also announced the approval of the new program at the last community council meeting in October. Members of the community are encouraged to attend.