Wednesday, February 13, 2013

RIOC To Issue RFP For Independent Audit of Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department Practices In Wake Of Brutality Allegations

Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Common Council Member Mark Lyon reports:

On 2/11, in a short 30 minute meeting, the Audit Committee met and instructed the corporation to issue an RFP for an internal audit of the Public Safety Department.
During yesterday's Audit Committee Meeting, RIOC Director Margie Smith reported a past conversation several years ago with a New York City Hall official who upon learning about the structure of the RIOC Public Safety Department remarked:
... That's crazy, they should be under the NYPD...
Ms. Smith explained that a meeting was subsequently arranged between the City Hall Official, herself and a NYPD representative to see if NYPD would review the structure and operation of the Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department but the answer that came back from NYPD was: 
... we can't do anything for you ... we don't have resources, time or inclination...
RIOC Director Howard Polivy added that the Manhattan District Attorney's office could not provide any oversight either.

The RIOC Public Safety Department audit is in addition to current investigations being conducted by the NY State Inspector General's Office and NY State Attorney General's Office into brutality allegations brought against RIOC's Public Safety Department.

The internal RIOC audit would be conducted by an independent outside vendor selected from those responding to a Request for Proposals. According to Mr. Polivy, the Public Safety Auditor would assist in refining the mission of the Public Safety Department and its capability of carrying out the mission in a:
... way the Corporation is well served and the public is well served....
RIOC Director David Kraut asked for a:
... standard under which Public Safety can be judged...
Ms. Smith reported that she was told by Public Safety Director Keith Guerra that civilian complaints are much lower on Roosevelt Island than elsewhere in NYC though Ms. Smith noted that might be because people are reluctant to make complaints:
... because they don't know who to go to to complain...
and Ms. Smith said she was surprised that more people were not stopping her on the street to talk about this issue as they would for other issues such as moving a Red Bus stop.

Here the audio web cast of the 2/11 Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Audit Committee meeting.


Frank Farance said...

Margie Smith brainstorms on why she's so out of touch with the residents on PSD complaints. A better question is: if the Facebook page documents all these problems, and *already*
are heard over the past five years, including lots of correspondence with Keith Guerra, then Margie Smith needs to ask herself: why is she so out of touch?

- Maybe Margie Smith, even with eyes open, failed to hear anything at numerous RIRA committee meetings with Public Safety Committee reports.

- Maybe Margie Smith, regardless of what she read in the paper/blog/etc., never pushed further with Keith Guerra.

- Maybe Keith Guerra was untruthful or not forthcoming in his communications with Margie Smith and the rest of the Board.

- Maybe Margie Smith never looked at Public Safety records regardless of reports of officers with suspensions, including one with a dozen suspensions without pay.

- Maybe Margie Smith doesn't "socialize" with a wider selection of Island residents.

- Maybe, to the residents, Margie Smith doesn't seem like the go-to person because, at the RIOC nominee candidates presentation, she is talking about adding more PS officers to help little old ladies and help save cats stuck in trees (more PS officers that do less) and she seems out of touch on Public Safety.

- Maybe residents felt the RIRA Public Safety Committee people and leadership (Erin Feely-Nahem) were more receptive to reporting problems.

- Maybe Howard Polivy has sat in RIRA Public Safety Committee meetings, but none of that was reported back to the RIOC Board.

- Maybe Margie Smith was perceived as one of those "democracy" people who, in fact, had little interest in actual operations of the Island.

- Maybe Public Safety was never a high priority for RIOC Board
members because a majority of them have a huge financial interest in their building's privatization and they were more interested in firing Steve Shane (who threatened their privatization interests) than other RIOC responsibilities.

- Maybe David Kraut is so disconnected from his neighbors in Eastwood that nothing was reported back to the RIOC Board.

- Maybe David Kraut was so charmed by Keith Guerra and "Public Safety has a tough job to do" that he was completely hands-off on Public Safety operations.

- Maybe Mike Shinozaki applied none of his management/ executive/ metrics skills to Public Safety operations.

- Maybe the RIOC Board, mostly comprised of residents, does a lousy job with corporate governance.

Hey RIOC Board: Public Safety's top brass (Director, Deputy
Director, Captain) keep BANKER'S HOURS for the past five years, so all that leadership is wasted on the weekday 7-3 shift (when crime is low), but none of them are here in evenings and weekends. Even the 114th Precinct CPOP officer knew the right shift to take: afternoons/evenings Tuesday through Saturday. But for five years, Guerra never suggested a better balance of the Top Brass across the shifts, and the RIOC Board never thought to ask or insist? Really, why do we need a Director, Deputy Director, and Captain all there at the same time ... and sitting at their desks? (We don't see them out on the street.)

Yes, part of that Public Safety audit needs to be: Why were RIOC Board members so oblivious on Public Safety operations for the past five years.

GeorgeProzakis said...

The "CPOP" cop, which is no longer a real title did not pick or choose his shift or days off. It is standard for specialized details to get Sunday and Mondays off and it is common knowledge in policing that the worst time for crime is the evening time. It is the most busiest time anywhere in the city in any precinct.

Frank Farance said...

Officer Prozakis, so you agree with me that the busiest time is in the evening, our CPOP officer is on that shift (he told us he chose that shift), yet Public Safety brass only work bankers hours, right?

GeorgeProzakis said...

It is highly unlikely that officer chose his shift. I agree 1000% that the busiest time has always been the 4x12 shift in policing. It is common knowledge. Does it mean there needs to be "brass" there, no, not necessarily. My commanding officer mainly does day tour shift as well as other command officers. They primarily work this so called "banker shift" as well. I am not defending but it's common place. Some commanders are a little extra and the fellow brass and officers think that commanding officer might be a bit loose to work evenings. Not saying that every commanding officer works day shift, but a vast majority does. Fact.

YetAnotherRIer said...

I have no idea what Frank's angle is. Just like at any other institution the desk jobs are always 8-5 or so jobs. I am very sure the "brass" does carry cell phones or beepers with them 24/7 so they are reachable if needed.

Michael Moreo said...

The Management Structure of the Public Safety Department of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation is as follows: Director, Deputy Director, Captain, 2 Lieutenants, and then Sergeants . The Director, Deputy Director and one of the Lieutenants all operate the "day tour" Monday through Friday. The Captain works Sunday night to do payroll (because the time card system "does not work") and the Tuesday through Friday on the "day tour". One Lieutenant works the Monday to Friday Evening tour and Sergeants are responsible for all "night tours" and all three tours on weekends. Sure, the top three have phones and are available for consultation, but wouldn't it be better if they split their shifts and covered the 24 hour operation with better Managerial presence?

Furthermore, the Public Safety Department is the only Department in RIOC that has a Deputy or Assistant Director (Civilian Positions - Please reserve the tilte Chief and Deputy Chief to active uniformed officers, not retired Police). Engineering, Human Resources and at one time IT and Island Operations had/have Director positions with no Assistant. Why is the Public Safety Department so special? In fact, they also are the only Department to have an Administrative Assistant. Even the President of the Corporation (of which Public Safety is a Department of) does not have his own Administrative Assistant. Folks, it is time that you ALL take a good hard look at how that department operates and the inefficiencies associated with it. You are NOT getting your monies worth......

westviewgirl said...

when will the people of RI have a police department? Our tax money goes to pay NYPD does it not? Our security guards work hard, but are put in danger everytime they clock in, as they are supposed to protect you and I and our families and loved ones, yet cannot carry a gun, and are supposed to stop criminal acitivity and be in harms way every second. Not sure all the report says, or what the out come will be in this " beating" case. I just know that if anyone every runs from a police man, or a security guard, there is cause for alarm, or distrust. Ask an NYPD officer how they think about anyone that eludes them on foot or in a car. I have seen so many young men " waiting": for their "friends:" at night along the river, or along the sidewalks at night. The smell of their drugs permeate the air and their fowl mouths infront on children leave me in awe.
I hope that this case will be solved, and those that have lied, or made false reports or accusations or that have done wrong will be put to shame and have to pay for their drama and horrid actions. AT the same time I do hope that the Gov, the city, the state will see that we are a part of the city and are due the same protection that people on Park Ave, the UES, Harlam, Battery Park, and all of the Brooklyn, Queens are given. This island is not the small community it used to be and NYPD are needed here, no matter how much you say bout PSD..they cannot and should be be expected to provide all 13.000 plus residents protection going forward. I hope that light is shed on that very fact during this process. The truth will come out, it always does.

Frank Farance said...

westviewgirl: In short, our NYC taxes go towards NYPD, our rents/maintenance go towards PSD. With RI's low crime rate, we get little NYPD staffing. However, RI has a good number of quality of life issues, and PSD is supposed to help out with them. So a majority of PSD's work (2350 incidents) is in the quality of life stuff. In 2012 PSD had 35 "index" crimes: grand larceny (10), assault (15), burglary (7), robbery (3). There were 142 misdemeanor crimes. You see see the full stats at "".

RIOC spends $2.9 million on PSD, which is $1.2 million over budget. PSD has 43% of their officers not patrolling, i.e., there's lots of fat to cut in PSD.

Frank Farance said...

Is it the case that the PSD Captain lacks patrolling experience? If so, then what value does she bring other than data entry for payroll?

Bill Long said...

Mr. Farance, from one executive to another, I suggest that you bid on the contract to audit the PSD. You've got a head start on any other auditing firm and you'd also get all your questions answered.

Frank Farance said...

Mr. Long, good suggestion, but I'll do one better: I'll give the audit firm all my information, which will save RIOC money.

CheshireKitty said...

I have to agree with Westviewgirl on this one: Let the PSD pack up their batons and go back to Albany - or wherever they came from. They lack the professionalism/continual training of the NYPD. As Frank says, "our NYC taxes go towards NYPD". In addition, with no PSD, RIOC would save millions - money the Island could really use now to repair Southpoint Park (for one example) and to prepare for the next flood/storm.

CheshireKitty said...

I hope the people in Albany that (hopefully) oversee RIOC are reading Michael's post! Not only are the taxpayer's dollars going to underwrite RIOC/PSD, but the money, once RIOC/PSD receives it,isn't even being well-utilized! And PSD is over-budget! Michael's information needs to be considered in the audit, and the audit must not be dragged out over a few months. The audit should be bid out immediately and the audit completed asap! If Guerrera is shown to be a managerial nincompoop, as he certainly seems, then that's another reason he should either be transferred, asked to resign, or simply let go..

CheshireKitty said...

What Frank is trying to say is wouldn't it be better to have supervisor coverage if not around the clock then at least during the afternoon into night-time shift, the hours when there is more need for police coverage.

Chitty Chitty said...

Wait, are you the same Michael Moreo that recommended your friend's wife for the job as the Administrative Assistant?
Wait, are you the same Michael Moreo that is engaged to her now?
Wait, are you the same Michael Moreo that was let go by RIOC for putting your hands on employees?
Nah, you can't be that same Michael Moreo talking about other people, now can you?

roozevelt said...

What's with all this Executive to Executive stuff?

I'm sorry Mr. Long, but what makes Mr. Farance an Executive? Does he have a job? Other than writing all day and night for this blog, and being a pain-in-the-ass to anyone that opposes his views?

Oh, that's right, he's the CEO of Farance Inc. Well, gosh darn-it, I'm the CEO of Roozevelt Inc., so call me an executive too.

CheshireKitty said...

Owning a business is not the same as having a job, because owning a business is a 24-7 occupation and unless a job-holder wishes to work off the clock, having a job usually means the job-holder's responsibilities start at 9 and end at 5. This is not meant to criticize job holders vs business owners, or job holders who may in fact be available to management via phone at all hours (and there are many of them as we all know). There is a big difference though in terms of responsibility because a business owner cannot simply "walk away" from a business contract or responsibility, whereas a job-holder *can* always resign if they wish.

CheshireKitty said...

This is cant/rumor/hearsay/gossip. And even if it were true, it's mixing apples and oranges. Michael's points re PSD mismanagement are of concern to residents, taxpayers, and the upcoming auditors. I, and I'm sure most readers, could care less about salacious details - which, for all we know, could be a complete fabrication, trumped up to undercut Michael's excellent critique of PSD "management" (or, rather, lack thereof).

GeorgeProzakis said...

Having multiple supervisors on that island would be like tripping over each other trying to get out of a burning building. Perhaps instead of having supervisors on top of supervisors getting paid supervisor money for no reason. Why not have an incident debriefing when things happen?. I have absolutely no idea if such a thing exists or not in the public safety department or not, but it's a start. Have someone with fancy lights and sirens respond and debrief the situation at hand. In the nypd, we get debriefed in a recorded type interrogation, but it is noted if you lie you MAY get terminated. This debriefing for us does not typically happen right away, for alleged abuse it can take several months to close out or bump the case up. I can only help with ideas to compare and contrast. Also this person doing the debriefing must be a member of the department as we have it in the nypd.

GeorgeProzakis said...

Not taking sides but I have not been trained, neither has 99% of patrol cops have had refresher courses on baton strikes, handcuffing or physical defense since leaving the academy. I just want to dispel a myth, the nypd does not have this so called continual training. Perhaps when a big thing happens they have a couple hour discussion on it, like stop question and frisk but that's about it.

GeorgeProzakis said...

I think it is really poor thinking to not have a full time police department on the island.

The public safety officers are not security guards, they are law enforcement officers who are deputized by the nypd. They are allowed to do everything a full police officer can do under the rule with the exception of a couple stipulations which do not affect anything during the course of their duties too much.

You cannot write me a big enough of a check to cash to walk around patrolling and stopping criminals, responding to domestic incidents or performing vehicle stops with no sidearm.

CheshireKitty said...

Maybe - but in general you don't hear about NYPD officers stationed on the island beating detainees - because they know they would be answerable to a CCRB complaint if they did so. That is why PSD officers seem to think they can get away with brutalizing residents - that and the departmental culture of brutality that Guerra has fostered in the 5 years he has been in charge of PSD. What is the recourse? An investigation that may take who knows how many months? An audit? Anything short of a complete shake-up at PSD is unacceptable. And this is why islanders, fed up with PSD, are calling for NYPD to take over security on RI.

CheshireKitty said...

It would be best for any non-routine, e.g. potentially violent, situation, if a supervisor was available on-island and if possible made themselves available personally, which is possible since the island is so compact. Since most serious incidents happen during the afternoon-evening shift, supervisory coverage should be available during those hours - and not just via cell ph.

westviewgirl said...

I was told by not one, but two PSD officers that you are not allowed to be PSD if you live on the island, they said conflict of interest. I find that odd in some ways, If PSD officers were " allowed" to live on the island wouldn't they want to get to know the residents more and bettera nd also take good care of their home?

Mary Lynn Zelker said...

Frank,I think since its obvious that we aren't going to get more of an NYPD presence here as stated by the commander when he visited and as you stated,we appreciate the training nypd has,why not start advocating for the officers to be sent to the nypd academy?

This is how i look at it,we can't get off duty nypd cause the commander basically said no and that it wont work. We WILL NOT EVER get more of an nypd presence here cause they can't justify it. We all agree that psd needs an overhaul. So why not demand from rioc that they send the officers to an actual full police academy. We can't get the nyc police dept so why not fix what we have. Everything is already in place,only thing missing is real police training.

Not only does the dept need a personel overhaul,but an image overhaul. With fully trained police officers,we could change it from psd to police dept. That would go a long way for changing image. And lets be honest,i think we would all feel better about the dept if they were fully trained police officers.

We should start advocating for this

Michael Moreo said...

Another RIOC insider that is NOT supposed to be on the blogs. Let's see, another Wilfredo Keith Guerra alias, maybe pan handler Fernando Martinez? I held an excellent track record at RIOC until you two gentlemen came along. Let address you banter. Yes, Yes and No. I was let go because you Wilfredo Keith Guerra put in for $350 of mileage reimbursement to a Emergency Management Exercise Course that you, I and Rene Bryan went to. Why did the IT Director go? Oh, that's right to keep an eye on you after you assumed those duties from me. But let's get back to the fact you drove a RIOC vehicle to the course for a week, and then asked from mileage reimbursement...... hmmmmm. Then I call foul ply, did not file for whistleblower status with Albany and bingo, fired one week later.
As far as your statements about putting hands on employees, don't go there. I know much more than you can imagine about you and Fernando. Don't test me Wilfredo Keith Guerra, don't ....

Frank Farance said...

Ms. Zelker, good points, but there is more than one way to get NYPD here. The discussion at the RIRA meeting only addressed one kind of contract vehicle, others are possible. As I pointed out, there are many events where large organizations pay for NYPD and not the off-duty detail. I had followed up on off-duty detail because it was suggested to me that this might work, now I understand some of its limitations. I spoke with the Deputy Inspector afterwards and he said he would look into other options. I also pointed out the RIOC, being a government entity, is able to give money (essentially) for more services. This strategy was pointed out by Assemblymember Kellner when he was looking to help the G&T (Gifted and Talented) program at PS/IS 217, i.e., RIOC can make these kinds of arrangements. And it would be appropriate for RIOC to spend its $1.7 million on a different kind of community patrol (NYPD, State Police, etc.).

Part of the problem is the RIOC Board has done little in this regard: still $1.2 million over budget, and huge inefficiencies with poor utilization. Sure, RIOC could be looking into these options, too, but they have no interest: they can't figure out how to trim some of the obvious fat in Public Safety staffing.

Or said differently, it's not just having better training or an transforming PSD into a police department, the problem is also the RIOC Board that doesn't know how to manage this. By (effectively) outsourcing this to NYPD or State Police, we (RIOC) pay a fixed rate and we don't deal with management structure (something RIOC has done very incompetently with PSD).

GeorgeProzakis said...

Large organizations pay for nypd presence? Show me where 24/7. No such a thing exists. If its an event for a day or two as noted on thd permit, such. Woul ws a street fair or concert, then possibly a couple officers can provide coverage for the EVENT. NOT ALL DAY EVERYDAY.

Please understand what you are saying prior to saying it. Your proposition is a no go as it is a fantasy that does not exist.

I think you dont get it. The island is not an impact zone. The island does not have high crime. We have trouble filling seats of police cars all over the city, you seriously believe they are going to send more officers here?. You have absolutely zero idea how the nypd works. The commanding officer told you in a nice way to go punch sand. He has much bigger problems jn his command other than the island. If you have not noticed they are not interested period.

RooseveltIslander said...

A portion of the comment above alleges without substantiation potentially illegal conduct by a specifically named individual. It is unfair to that individual to allow such a charge to remain without evidence to support it.

I could not edit out only the objectionable portion of the comment so had to delete it in its entirety.

If you wish, please re-post without that portion of the comment.

Providing fair comment moderation criteria, without censoring comments some find objectionable, is a constant internal debate. Any thoughts on this from readers would be appreciated.

My bottom line on comments is don't defame others or accuse named individuals of criminal activity unless there has been a judicial determination.

Also, comments that use the person's real name or verifiable email addresses are given much greater leeway than those that use pseudonyms or unverified email addresses.

The commenter above used his real name but on balance I think it was unfair to accuse another person in this manner without evidence.

RooseveltIslander said...

comment above was removed because it was made anonymously from an unverified email address that alleged possibly illegal behavior by a named individual.

Frank Farance said...

You're wrong, they're interested, you don't know how Roosevelt island works.

GeorgeProzakis said...

Maybe you are right, my time was short and maybe i don't know everything there is to know about roosevelt island. I do know how nypd is and what is doable and what is not doable.

You still failed to provide an example. You are absolutely hell bent on having nypd here. Aside from the single post cop on the island, more is not going to happen. Period. That's a fact.

As I said, we are struggling to have cops go on patrol. They are absolutely not going to basically waste resources here.

Patrol cops do not do vertical patrols. I have read that this was a concern for you. You are going to have people stopped questioned and frisked, you are going to have arrests and you will have incidents no matter if its nypd or whoever it is. No body goes into work punching fists praying to beat some one up. That's rediculous thinking. You are also still going to have summonses issued and probably at that point, nypd traffic agents are probably going to come to the island and actively really enforce their summons goals.

Heres the skinny on vertical patrols: They do not do it unless it is for a category special missing person. Patrol cops are not going to keep responding to nuisance calls for service like kids running around. You are going to hold up important 911 calls for kids running in a hallway or smoking pot in the back area? Seriously?. 311 calls? Yeah goodluck getting anyone to keep responding to those calls every single day. Not going to happen. A 311 calls take about on average 15 minutes to get dispatched on the computer in the precinct. The chances of someone clicking refresh and seeing the job is even more slim to none. The nypd is a world of its own that you have no idea how its worked. The island does not have NYCHA buildings.

Am I against nypd on Roosevelt island? More than one officer, yes. Perhaps one to help out the public safety department on dangerous incidents. To have a small army, no way. It's a waste of resources and money that should be better off spent somewhere else.

A cop makes about $100,000/year with minimal overtime. Yeah. Talk about waste of tax money. As a fellow taxpayer myself, that's sickening. Again and again and again you are told to pound sand by plenty of people. I think the lady here said it best. Why not rally for new beginnings and set a bar for higher standards.

Frank Farance said...

Officer Prozakis: At least we agree on one point: the $100K estimate I used for staffing. This is not "tax" money. So with $1.7 million to spend, we can get approximately 17 officers, which translates into the 4-5 officers/shift that Director Guerra was speaking about. You seem to think we're just asking for NYPD, and that is not so. In addition to City/State taxes we pay, we also have a budget of $1.7 million which is paid via our rents/maintenance through the ground leases as Public Safety fees in the RIOC budget. So with $1.7 million to spend on staffing for (largely) quality of life issues, many think we can do better. NYPD is one option (and would be convenient), State Police are another option, and there are other options.

There is no waste of tax money because this is a completely separate fund, in addition to the taxes we pay. As I said, you really don't know Roosevelt Island.

What's the point of your commenting if (1) you don't live here, and (2) you don't understand Roosevelt Island? It seems your point is to use a FUD attack (fear, uncertainty, doubt) to troll along and be negative. Sounds like you're a friend of PSD.

GeorgeProzakis said...

Surely not a friend of anyone. You are absolutely right, perhaps I was thinking too hard into things. I do not live there anymore but I sure would love to return one day. It was a very unique place and I am simply telling you the facts that nypd is basically telling you they want no part. Just a friendly conversation, no trolling, no taking sides, I don't care for any of that.

I am simply letting you know that the nypd has one huge headache of filling up seats in police cars to go out on patrol, they are not going to basically waste resources on a basically crime less island. I am only trying to help you grasp the reality of it. Nothing more and nothing less.

Perhaps you are correct, maybe I am going too far in to things as if I still live there. I apologize. It only gets me upset that someone is pushing for resources to get diverted elsewhere when we cannot fulfill our own manpower for urgent areas. So please excuse me for that.

I would not think the state police will come here either. The options you have are not realistic. Please understand that I am trying to help you understand how the system of policing works. It's not an easy system to understand to a civilian. It's a wild animal that is bread strategically.

As the commanding officer said about that place up in the bronx that has a complex. Sorry i forgot the name of it but i know its in the 45 precinct. That place is a bad place with plenty of index crimes as per the 45th precinct statistics. Yet, they have no nypd foot patrols or anyone dedicated to the complex. If I am not mistaken they have their own police force as well. I don't know if they have guns or not or if its a state ran enterprise or not either, but the proof is in the pudding as they say.