Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department Engaged In Work Slowdown Refusing To Respond To Certain Calls For Assistance - NYC Police Department Frustrated And Angry, Silence From RIOC
Image Of Public Safety Officers Reading RIRA Public Safety Committee Poster From Frank Farance
The Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department is currently engaged in a work slowdown according to NYPD and Roosevelt Island merchant sources. During the past two weeks, routine calls for assistance which the Public Safety Department would normally handle are being refused by the Public Safety Department requiring NYPD officers to respond.
Once NYPD responds to these minor incidents and makes an arrest, the officers are no longer available to patrol Roosevelt Island or other areas of the 114th precinct. The Roosevelt Island Public Safety work slowdown results in NYPD officers being taken off the streets of the 114th precinct and unavailable to prevent or respond to more serious incidents. The NYPD is not pleased with the Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department at the moment.
An example of the Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department work slowdown happened Tuesday evening at approximately 6 PM. A minor shoplifting theft at Gristedes occurred. As they have routinely done in the past, Gristedes called the Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department to handle the incident but Public Safety did not respond. The NYPD was called and made the arrest which resulted in the Officers being unavailable to continue their normal patrol. Gristedes representatives told me that Public Safety's refusal to respond to this minor incident was not an isolated event.
Yesterday, I sent the following inquiry to Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) President Charlene Indelicato, Public Safety Chief Keith Guerra and RIOC Board Directors:
I have been informed by sources in a position to know that the Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department has been engaging in a work slowdown for at least the past two weeks refusing to answer certain calls for assistance that they would normally respond to.Have not received any response from RIOC yet. I am not sure which would be worse - RIOC being aware of the work slowdown situation and not doing anything to correct it or not being aware of it at all?
Are you aware of this situation?
If you are, what is being done to correct it?...
A reasonable question to ask and have answered is whether the Public Safety Department work slowdown is their response to the ongoing Public Safety leadership controversy and brutality allegations?
RIOC President Indelicato learned first hand about the current Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department controversy when she presided over her first Board meeting on May 30. Before the start of the Board meeting, several Roosevelt Island residents spoke about the ongoing Public Safety Department leadership controversy and brutality allegations.
Here's some of what happened. From Erin Feely-Nahem.
The text of Ms. Feely-Nahem's remarks are below:
Good Evening Madam President, Commissioner Towns, and RIOCBoard Members:Also, testimony from other residents. during the May 30 RIOC Board meeting Public Session.
My name is Erin Feely-Nahem, and I am the Chair of the Roosevelt Island Resident's Associations Public Safety Committee.
Tonight I am here to address the burning question of the Public Safety Department and its current leadership.
For this community, right now, this is without question, the central and most immediate problem that your new Administration faces.
While I am aware that Ms. Indelicato is new to her position, the situation with the Public Safety Department, the numerous complaints and law suits, and the continuing arrogant and unconstitutional behaviors, are not new for the rest of us and have escalated to a place where the community wants change, as evidenced by the attendance at our February 16th and April 21st Rallies.
For the Public Safety Committee the issue isnʼt about having Public Safety Officers as our Law enforcement entity. We are not advocating for the replacement of Public Safety with NYPD. Unlike what some may think, we donʼt hate Public Safety Officers, we just dislike what some of them have done and what the department's philosophy has become.
What we do want, and what we believe the documented facts support, is new leadership at the head of the current department, and the removal of those officers who have engaged in abusive or brutal behavior. We want a Director who will teach the officers to respect our constitutional rights, put an end to the long standing pattern of abuse, false or frivolous arrest and detentions and one that will create a department with a different philosophy, more in sync with our community's needs.
We are asking for a department that is accountable for their actions, and one that has real authority which is based on mutual trust and respect.
This is all that we want and all that we have been asking for, but we are growing inpatient. It has been almost 5 months since the vicious beating of Anthony Jones, a case where charges were never even filed by the DA.
But this isnʼt only about Anthony, it is about a pattern of behavior over the past 5 years, reflected in dozens of cases, where residentʼs rights are ignored, and where a culture of disrespect, abuse and a type of callousness, has replaced the respect and compassion a community "friendly" Public Safety Department should have.
It is stunning to me personally, as someone who has spent dozen of hours investigating claims and allegations of mistreatment and abuse, and having discussed such cases with Director Guerra, on a number of occasions, to be able to tell you that not once has Chief Guerra ever acknowledged any misconduct or wrong doing, of any of his officers, nor has he offered this community apologies or any explanation for the number of law suits that have been filed, or incidents cited.
These facts indicate that the trust and respect of this community were never a priority for Director Guerra. He was arrogant and self assured, confident that his way was the right way, therefore the only way. Suggestions given to him when grievances were aired fell on deaf ears. He continued to encourage and condone a philosophy of zero tolerance – maximum enforcement of the laws, instructing his Officers to arrest whenever they could, even if it was for a minor violation that would be thrown out of court, as a way to change what he thought was our communityʼs perception of Public Safety Officers as “Toy Cops."
We all want the same thing: peace and stability.We want a PSD that is credible, trusted and respected by our children and our neighbors, one that has the proper authority to keep us safe and secure.
We are grateful to have a new President aboard and hope that under your leadership RIOC and its Board will take the actions required to reform the current Public Safety Department, and to give us back our dignity and our home.
It's time for RIOC to end its silence regarding the Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department's relationship with the community.