It’s time for Beat Cop 2.0.
The NYPD will roll out a new neighborhood policing program into its patrol patterns at both the 68th and 62nd Precincts, according to Councilmember Justin Brannan, a newly minted local pol who called for the program during his 2017 campaign.
The 62nd Precinct will first see the addition of neighborhood coordination officers (NCOs) in April – with an official rollout slated for April 24, according to the precinct’s commanding officer, Captain Anthony Longobardi – with the 68 following suit in the summer.
Neighborhood policing is a comprehensive plan meant to strengthen the connection between the NYPD and the communities it serves by dividing each precinct into four or five sectors and assigning sector officers to work the same shifts in the same neighborhood to increase familiarity and build relationships with residents.
Each sector will also be assigned two NCOs that serve as liaisons between the Police Department and the community, while also working directly with neighborhood leaders to find long-term solutions for issues facing each ‘hood. It is the work of both Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner James O’Neill.
Longobardi lauded the move at a Tuesday, February 20 62nd Precinct Community Council meeting.
“I’m really excited about it and I think everybody here is going to love it,” he said of the program which he noted was “started by [former Police Commissioner William] Bratton but perfected by O’Neill.” “Basically what we’re going to do is we’re going to take the precinct and we’re going to reshuffle it as far as the way the boundaries are, and every one of those new areas is going to get two officers – kind of like the beat cop, but different.
“These cops are crime fighters,” Longobardi went on, “but they’re also going to be in constant contact. The same way I sit here at these meetings and listen to community complaints, in two months, they’re going to be here. They’re going to give you their cell phone numbers, their e-mail addresses, they will be your point person. They’re going to hold their own meetings in their own neighborhoods and have their own Twitter feeds and everything. It’s going to be great.”
Deputy Inspector Joseph Hayward, commanding officer of the 68th Precinct, shared in Longobardi’s excitement.
“I’m happy to get the program. Any precinct can always benefit from better police and community relations,” he told this paper. “I look forward to meeting with community leaders that are not involved with the precinct community council and expanding our 68 community family.”
Brannan – who often referred to the beat cop when addressing quality-of-life concerns in his district long before he was elected – called the implementation an important one.
“It’s important that residents and police officers work together to build trust in order to achieve the mutual goal of safe streets and strong neighborhoods. I am happy to see more resources and officers for the 68 and 62, but it’s not about simply hiring or dispatching more officers, it’s about using them in a smart way and producing positive results,” he said. “Our neighborhoods will benefit from neighborhood policing and the return of the ‘cop on the corner.’ People will become familiar with the officers serving their community every day, which goes a long way in building trust.”
The 62 will introduce its new NCOs on Tuesday, April 24 at Seth Low Intermediate School, 99 Avenue P at 7 p.m. “There, you’ll actually get to meet one on one with your new NCOs,” Longobardi said.
The 68th Precinct serves Bay Ridge, Fort Hamilton and Dyker Heights, and the 62nd Precinct serves Gravesend, Bath Beach and Bensonhurst.
“Protecting all New Yorkers is important work,” Brannan continued. “This move to replace broken windows policing with neighborhood policing will simultaneously make our neighborhoods safer, and build respect and trust between police and the communities they serve.”