Police Beat 104: VROOOM, VROOOOOM! GRRRRRRRRR! - JuniperCivic.com
Serving Middle Village and Maspeth since 1938.

Originally published in the June 2004 Juniper Berry Magazine

Police Beat 104: VROOOM, VROOOOOM! GRRRRRRRRR!

VROOOM, VROOOOOM! GRRRRRRRRR! That's the sound of those very dangerous and annoying motorized scooters we see everywhere. Actually, you are probably seeing and hearing fewer already. For that, we can thank our new 104 Precinct Commander, Captain Scott Shanley, who replaced the excellent Deputy Inspector Peter Loehle early in May.

Captain Shanley promptly surveyed the various problems throughout the precinct, visited with the residents, listened, and immediately started to handle these problems with new tactics and strategies.

No, not all of our crime is completely handled and, motorized scooters are not our worst crime. But, now patrol officers will confiscate the scooters and contact the parents who purchased them for their children. Captain Shanley is initiating procedures to have the city's Administration for Children's Services get involved with those parents. The Juniper Park Civic Association fully supports this initiative and urges ACS to become actively involved.

The mission of the Administration for Children's Services is to ensure the safety and well being of New York City Children. Clearly, purchasing a motorized scooter for a child to use in traffic is endangering the safety and well being of that child. If ACS examines that family, it may well learn of other serious problems. Is the youngster involved with graffiti vandalism or, having problems in school? Is there a drug or alcohol problem in the household? Why are the parents purchasing such a dangerous item for their child?

The Juniper Park Civic Association has always looked out for the interests of all the residents of this community. Naturally, we look to protect the interests of the peaceable, law-abiding residents far more than the disruptive among us. While we prefer that all families remain intact, we do believe that any short-term intervention by ACS and the police is for the benefit of the entire community.

Parents who have already purchased a motorized scooter for your child: You are responsible for the safety and well being of your child ‒ not the police or the ACS. Get rid of the scooter. If you are planning to purchase one: Spend the money on school supplies.

Send letters or email to let the JPCA know which merchants are selling these scooters. Write to Mayor Bloomberg, your City Council Member, State Assembly Member and Senator to have the sale, possession or use of these scooters made illegal. Or, you may feel free to write us to tell why these motorized scooters are good for use on our streets by youngsters. We will print those letters ‒ if signed ‒ in our next Juniper Berry.

The Juniper Park Civic Association urges that the Mayor, City Council, Governor, State Senate and Assembly all pass the legislation that will eliminate these motorized scooters once and for all. Until then, we ask Mayor Bloomberg, Police Commissioner Kelly, Borough Command Chief Tuller and ACS Commissioner William Bell to fully support the elimination of the use of these scooters.

Welcome to the precinct, Captain Scott Shanley. We all look forward to your success! If you succeed, we win!

COP104 MEETINGS

If you would like to welcome Captain Shanley and tell him and the other precinct officers of your own concerns, just attend the monthly COP104 meetings held on the 3rd Wednesday of each month. Meeting locations change to give each neighborhood a convenient opportunity to meet. Look for posters and local newspaper announcements of the next meeting.

If you have concerns but cannot attend these meetings, the Captain has arranged that you can send him email. Your mail will be read and answered. Send your email to: ADM104@GW.NYPD.ORG. Please identify yourself so your problem can be handled and you can be contacted, if required. Naturally, phone 911 or 311 for problems that require prompt police assistance. Use the email system for conditions whose time can be specified. An example, you may experience seriously rowdy bar patrons on Friday and Saturday evenings after 9PM until 1AM or 2AM. You have experienced this on a fairly regular basis and would like a patrol to be in the vicinity during those times. You may be spotting new graffiti each Saturday morning in your neighborhood. You believe that this graffiti is put there on Friday nights, after dark. Please, avoid sending email about one-time or short-term incidents such as someone double-parking, or running a stop sign or a traffic signal. Regular, somewhat predictable incidents can be reported.

Emailed reports of repeated incidents can help the officers at the precinct to line up their patrols to handle these incidents.

But, your visits to these COP104 meetings will make you aware of the various police problems throughout the precinct, and give you the opportunity to identify problems you believe the police are not handling. Perhaps the police are unaware of the problems you identify. You are always welcome to attend any and all of these meetings.

POLICE PATROLS

At the COP104 meetings, many residents complain about response time and the absence of visible regular patrols ‒ Police Presence.

Each precinct commander has experienced this complaint. Precinct commanders do not hire the officers who serve in the precinct. The precinct commander is required to make optimum use of the officers assigned to the precinct. The officers themselves must have their vacation and sick days, court days, or perhaps be out of service while undergoing needed training.

Then the officers are divided into the three shifts, with some shifts on some days requiring more officers than other shifts.

Some nights in this precinct there will be just three patrols on duty. One severe auto accident, or a very serious crime, and the precinct has just one or two patrols for long periods. (Two or more serious incidents can deplete the patrol presence entirely for lengthy periods.)

But, if that's bad, here's what makes matters worse: Sports events at Shea Stadium. The 104 Precinct must donate up to as many as eight officers for the duration of the game.

Fans pay big money for tickets. Team owners want to pocket as much of this money as they can. Well, let the team owners earn billions. But, not at the expense of the residents of the 104 Precinct. We pay taxes for police protection in this community. When the team owners get our police, then that means our tax payments go to the team owners. Let the team owners pay for whatever security they require. Let us have the police officers we pay taxes for.

Mayor Bloomberg, Police Commissioner Kelly and Borough Command Chief Tuller: Please review this policy of having officers taken from our precinct and let the team owners provide their own security.

Additionally, review the staffing of the 104 Precinct with an eye towards restoring our officers to full complement.

FEEDBACK

We welcome all communication from the community ‒ residents or police officials. You can email your comments to PoliceBeat104@AOL.COM.

You can mail your comments to Police Beat 104, C/O Juniper Park Civic Association, P.O. Box 790275, Middle Village, NY 11379.

Feel free to report all graffiti locations, new or old, to this column (after you call 311). Your feedback will drive this column.