**FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE**
March 6, 2012
Contact: Barbara Sherman (718) 260-9191
COUNCIL MEMBER LETITIA JAMES COMMENTS ON NYPD’S MOVE TO DESIGNATE POLICING OF BARCLAY’S ARENA TO 78TH PRECINCT
CITES NEED FOR COMMUNITY INCLUSION, CRITICIZES LACK OF TRANSPARENCY
(Brooklyn, NY)— “Media outlets have recently reported that the NYPD plans to designate policing of the Barclay’s Arena to the 78th Precinct in Brooklyn (which primarily covers Park Slope) when it opens in September 2012. The arena is located in Prospect Heights, which is covered by the 77th Precinct (with the boundaries for the 88th Precinct ending across the street).
Such a move has been justified by citing the 78th Precinct’s close proximity to the upcoming arena. This move would also greatly increase overtime for the precinct’s officers. However, police precinct boundaries are required to be coterminous with local district boundaries, subject to the New York City Charter process outlined in Section 2704(b). The NYPD unilaterally making decisions regarding the alignment of police precinct boundaries might then call into question other local governmental agencies that are similarly subject to coterminality requirements. These decisions have public policy and planning consequences, and should be further discussed with local elected officials and community stakeholders.
It is my position that the NYPD should place new officers in a police annex dedicated to the Barclay’s Arena site. The 77th, 78th, and 88th precincts should be working collaboratively to consult in these matters. Additionally, the cost of these new police officers— and all over time costs— should be underwritten by the developer. There is no reason to cherry-pick from one precinct over another, and no reason to take vital resources from any precinct. The most important factor is ensuring that the officers in these local precincts remain dedicated to community policing.”
Earlier this year, Council Member James questioned Jane Marshall— a Forest City Ratner executive— on Barclay’s security issues including overtime costs for arena events, traffic agents, and the overall security plan for the arena. She has also requested a copy of the security plan from NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly. There has been no response.