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Thursday, June 6, 2013

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.

Are you aware of this situation?

If you are, what is being done to correct it?...
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?

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:

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.
Also, testimony from other residents. during the May 30 RIOC Board meeting Public Session.

It's time for RIOC to end its silence regarding the Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department's relationship with the community.


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OldRossie said...

I've got a lot of angry things to say about this, but I'd rather keep it constructive. Many of us have commented on our preference to replace PSD with an NYPD precinct. Can anyone tell me why this can/would not happen?

Bill Blass said...

Oh my God. It is time for the r i r a to take action

YetAnotherDisgustedResident said...

What a bunch of suckers we are. Except for the rare timely responses PSD makes to help us out, they are worse than useless. Now, with the "work slowdown" what the hell are we paying them 3 million a year for? Parking fines collected by the city, or the random beating of a resident ?

OldRossie said...

something about this doesn't seem legal. Is there someone of higher authority we should be contacting?

Century21 said...

Wow. Now I've heard it all. So, the NYPD is frustrated and angry because they have to answer a call? That's absolute nonsense. That's their job. If a call is made to 911, guess who's being dispatched? The NYPD.

So, an arrest was made by the NYPD and the "Officers were unavailable to continue their normal patrol". What a joke! There are 34,000 Officers on the NYPD. What do you think happens when an arrest needs to be made anywhere else in NYC? That's right, the officer is unavailable to patrol. BUT, there is another officer assigned to do it.

This just seems like more nonsense being spewed by people who don't like law enforcement.

LoveMeSomeRITram said...

So the commander of the 114th precinct is upset about this?

The only time NYPD responds to something is if someone calls 911, right? So if you call 911, you get NYPD. I don't see how that has anything to do with a work slowdown. I can't imagine PSD wanting negative attention for a slow down when there's everything else on their plate right now. Someone, whether its an NYPD officer or some store owner, or anyone else, is grasping at straws.

Frank Farance said...

Century21, you've got it wrong. PSD has an abundant resources, but sits on their hands. According to Guerra, 43% of the officers do not patrol, i.e., we're paying for them but they aren't patrolling. Now on top of that, PSD isn't responding to service requests. NYPD is annoyed that they have to devote resources to handle low-level
stuff that PSD would normally handle.

I grew up in Freeport, LI, an incorporated village with its own police force. As an analogy, it would be as if Freeport PD didn't respond to service calls so Nassau County police had to respond ... Nassau County PD is staffing and scheduling their force with the assumption that Freeport PD would handle Freeport territory.

Ditto for the 114th Precinct and PSD's handling of Roosevelt Island.

This has NOTHING to do with a dislike of law enforcement (I think NYPD would provide better value for our money), it has to do with services provided to us residents (via contractual obligations) and RIOC/PSD not performing their contractual obligations, with the obvious negative affects upon the community.

And it concerns the stupidity (plain for all to see) in Guerra's Public Safety: We Don't Like You Complaining About PSD, So We're Not Going To Provide Community Policing Just To Show You How Valuable We Are.

Many are wondering about RIOC President Indelicato: As an executive, how much more Guerra are you going to take when there is no upside to Guerra for you (he can't help you), but only a downside for you (he can easily drag down the impression of *your* executive skills)? If this were the corporate world Ms. Indelicato, other executives would be wondering about your own executive skills ... because you haven't removed him *AND* you're reaction is just RIOC Bunker Mentality. You've just garnered a whole new Market Segment of residents and merchants against Guerra ... that's your problem Ms. Indelicato.

Frank Farance said...

LoveMeSomeRITram, that's not how NYPD responds. NYPD can respond to both emergency and non-emergency service requests. PSD is not responding to some service requests (from above, "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"), which means more 911 calls from RI. See my response to Century21.

CheshireKitty said...

It's interesting that PSD started the work slow down about a week before the last RIOC Board meeting (5/30), approximately four months before the date of the next RIOC Board meeting, on Sept.12th: This way, PSD can have a job action and it can even go on for 2 or 3 months. As long as PSD wraps it up by September, no-once can complain about it to the Board on 9/12.

CheshireKitty said...

No, you're wrong about many of the complaints. Many times, if a complaint is not an emergency, RI residents do not call 911, they call PSD instead. Likewise in the rest of the City, 911 is reserved for emergency calls. A resident in the 5 boroughs could call the precinct for the non-emergency calls, or even, if I am not mistaken, 311. The point Rick was making is that non-emergency calls that would ordinarily be handled by PSD, such as for any number of matters - noise, people walking dogs in non-permitted areas, emergency doors propped open, petty disputes - these calls would either be responded to slowly by PSD (in a slow down) or, if the resident becomes impatient, they might call the local precinct or even, 911 (most likely in case of a non-emergency the call would be patched over to the local precinct by the 911 operator). Officers from the local precinct filling in for PSD on RI might resent having to do PSD's job - that of responding to non-emergency calls on RI - since there is an entire law enforcement organization already on RI that is supposed to be answering these calls.

Now is the time for PSD to call a Community/Town Hall Meeting to directly answer questions about pending issues such as the work slowdown, tactics, and so forth!

It is now almost five months since the Anthony Jones beating which occurred on Jan. 13, 2013. RIOC-PSD continues to refuse to hold a public Community Meeting regarding the "community" policing tactics PSD employs on RI.

Now, not only do we have over-enforcement on RI, we have a simultaneous work slow-down by the PSD. What that means is you can expect little to no help should you have a non-emergency complaint and call PSD, but heaven help you if you annoy, or your remarks are interpreted as annoying, or you otherwise say the wrong thing to a PSO in any interaction with PSD - then the PSO might spring into action and over-enforce. Then you might get arrested for nothing...

The entire scenario is designed to discourage residents from calling PSD under almost any circumstances - non-emergency (since you know they will take their time in responding) or emergency (obviously, the caller would call 911 in case of an emergency), or really, any circumstance in between since you never know how a PSO might "react" in any given situation...

The RIOC Board has no meetings of any kind scheduled for the next 3 months - so the RIOC Board, when they return to work in September, can say they "knew nothing" of the slow-down.

That may be - but what about the 1/13/13 Anthony Jones case? What about the deli case? What about all the other incidents that are plastered all over RI on the posters?

Why does RIOC-PSD continue to refuse to hold a Community Meeting regarding the questions surrounding the Anthony Jones case, the many other cases of harassment and over-enforcement, and now, their work slowdown?

Iceman44 said...

Some people are so goal-oriented that they just keep making stuff up as they go along to keep PSD in a negative light. I've asked not 1 but several PSD officers and they all said that there is no slow down. But we should believe the same bloggers that have been slamming PSD for months. Don't be so naive folks. I would bet a dollar to a doughnut (no pun intended) that the NYPD is not angry if they need to respond to a call on our island. This whole post is ridiculous.

CheshireKitty said...

Iceman: No-one is saying NYPD is angry about responding to calls they would ordinarily respond to, that is, the more serious calls. NYPD might resent having to respond to calls PSD ordinarily responds to - the routine/QOL type of calls - since it would then be doing PSD's job. Also, if PSD's job action is a quasi-strike, then NYPD is put into the unenviable position of scabs.

Iceman: Why not send an email directly to Rick with the details of your information, including the names/badge numbers of the several PSD officers you spoke with. Rick can then evaluate the information side-by-side with the information he received, weigh his information in light of your information, and arrive at a conclusion either about his information or yours.

RooseveltIslander said...

yes, please send me the information about Public Safety Officers who would like to tell their side of the story. I would very much like to talk to them and present their views to the community.

Great idea Kitty.

I stand by my original story.

I find it unfortunate that neither RIOC President Indelicato or PSD Director Guerra will publicly respond to the Roosevelt Island community about these charges.

Frank Farance said...

Iceman44: Look at the PSD records and you'll see the problem. With an average of approximately 300 PSD incidents per month, only 6 incidents in February where both PSD and NYPD responded, i.e., 1 out of 45 incidents. In May, this suddenly jumped to 25 incidents, i.e., 1 out of every 13 incidents - a threefold (3x) increase.

Furthermore, PSD's recording of the incident (sometimes) is manipulated to be incomplete or untrue. As I've pointed out in the past with the Steuber Incident, where PSD reported "no injuries", which was inconsistent with the medical records and PSD reports of the event. Then PSD updated the report to be "no serious injuries", a medical judgment PSD was making without medical qualifications: there were head injuries, and there were no medical statements stating the lack of serious injuries, so PSD "doctors" diagnosed No Serious Injuries on one of their employees (RIOC/PSD, as an employer, manipulating the medical reporting on one of their employees?). Director Guerra's approach was to claim Faking Injuries, regardless of the medical records, and to manipulate the reporting of it so his officers' abuse (700 pounds of officers to crush a 140 unarmed man) appeared less problematic than it was.

For example, there was a shoplifting incident at Gristede's at approximately 6-7 PM on June 4 that PSD did not respond to (work slowdown), so NYPD was called. You won't find a shoplifting incident at that time in the PSD blotter, so this shows it was NYPD that only responded.

However later that night (9:50 PM) on the PSD blotter it reports an shoplifting incident at Gristedes: "6/4/13 - 2150 - 686 Main St - Shoplifting - PSD & NYPD responded - Arrest made by NYPD", which again shows that NYPD had to be called (because previous Gristede's shoplifting arrests had been handled by PSD, see PSD blotter).

Now those PSD blotter entries (covering Gristede's shoplifting) had been "skipped" on the RIOC/PSD public blotter: normally, they are updated daily. In fact, RIOC/PSD stopped posting information for several days on its public blotter, so I asked why they discontinued. Within 310 seconds of my inquiry, the RIOC/PSD web page was updated, except that the item of interest (the shoplifting) was excluded from the report. I asked RIOC/PSD about the missing day from the PSD blotter and it took over an hour for PSD to provide the update on their website (a task that takes 310 seconds, right?).

I'm guessing the RIOC/PSD reporting details were manipulated, and here is my reasoning. On June 4, there are two possibilities: either there was one shoplifting incident at Gristede's (approx 6-7 PM), or there was more than one shoplifting incident (the one at approx 6-7 PM and at least one more).

If Possibility #1, then PSD manipulated the reporting of the incident because: (1) PSD did *not* respond to the service call (contrary to their reporting) even though they received a service call, and (2) the reporting time was many hours later than the actual event.

If Possibility #2, then PSD demonstrates its lack of response (i.e., work slowdown) to the 6-7 PM shoplifting event.

This is the problem with PSD: regardless of which possibility is true, the outcome is bad for PSD.

Century21 said...

What's unfortunate is the fact that nobody can make a comment on your blog without Frank Farance or CheschireKitty dominating the space with their long-winded opinions. Right, wrong or indifferent, they always seem to try to convince people that their view is THE VIEW.

Frank Farance said...

Century21, maybe you've missed the point: it's called Debate and you should expect to be challenged when you provide incomplete/ incorrect information.

So when you say "This just seems like more nonsense being spewed by people who don't like law enforcement", that's incorrect (as an example).

Frank Farance said...

Just heard: Steuber case dismissed in court. For all the hullabaloo, it
was dismissed, just like many of the other PSD cases. The point here is:
stick it out, the bogus PSD charges end up in dismissals.

CheshireKitty said...

Could RIOC please re-hire Neal? The charges were dismissed. Anybody at RIOC reading this? Please re-hire Neal.. he was unjustly let go. Indelicato: Please re-hire Neal. Your predecessor let him go unjustly. Please re-hire him now.