The Q at Parkside

(for those for whom the Parkside Q is their hometrain)

News and Nonsense from the Brooklyn neighborhood of Lefferts and environs, or more specifically a neighborhood once known as Melrose Park. Sometimes called Lefferts Gardens. Or Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. Or PLG. Or North Flatbush. Or Caledonia (west of Ocean). Or West Pigtown. Across From Park Slope. Under Crown Heights. Near Drummer's Grove. The Side of the Park With the McDonalds. Jackie Robinson Town. Home of Lefferts Manor. West Wingate. Near Kings County Hospital. Or if you're coming from the airport in taxi, maybe just Flatbush is best.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Tonight: COP Program Orientation at 71st Precinct - Be There!

It's finally happening. Vinnie Martinos says all are welcome. The patrol car is ready. All we need are the able-bodied volunteers. But you must show up tonight at 7pm at the 71st precinct, Empire at New York Ave. You're not committed to actually driving around in the Civilian Observation Patrol car just yet, but you must attend the orientation and get fingerprinted in order to be considered. The idea is for members of the community to cruise around and observe, then let the precinct know what we see - no fancy interventionist stuff. Plus, we get to know each other better. To me, it's all part of the neighborhood watch and D.A. block captain work we're doing already, per that meeting last week and other efforts. And I'll be posting in the next couple days about what up with that.

So show up tonight at the precinct, And remember, there's a cool jacket in it for those who become "C.O.P.s" This is NOT vigilante justice. It's just another piece in the getting a handle on the Drugs 'n' Thugs nonsense that's plaguing the area and getting a lot of us down.


Anonymous said...

This is awesome! However, would it not be more effective if the patrol did not have a patrol car? It should at least be unmarked, no?

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Huh. I'm sort of perplexed by that comment. The idea, under normal circumstances, would be to increase the presence of marked cars. Since right now every corner seems to have a cop car of some kind on it with lights a-flashing, perhaps it seems like an odd thing to want yet another patrol vehicle. I think once the current impact situation is over though the cruising car up and down will be a welcome sight, though, don't you?

Normally, the neighborhood would welcome a car cruising around making the n'er-do-wells feel a little less comfortable about their public activities. Unarmed and armed neighborhood watches are common throughout NYC, and the world for that matter. Part of the point is the "display."

The old neighborhood watch programs were more of an informal network of keeping an eye out for trouble. Maybe that's what you mean? As in, if you see something say something, and organize around blocks to identify problem spots? That's sort of what we're trying to do with the block captain concept, with meetings of said captains on a regular basis. Well, that's the idea anyway.

Anonymous said...

Ah, yes. I do see your point. I guess I was thinking that if there was some kind of sketchy activity going on, that it might scatter the moment a marked car turns onto the street. You might therefore think, "Well, that's great! That's what we WANT to happen," but then we lose the ability to take an accurate read on what's really going on in the neighborhood. I imagine the n'er-do-wells might simply "act less suspicious" whenever a marked car drives by, only to resume their activites after it passes, no?

Anonymous said...

Stop, Question and Frisk. That's what you want.

A police presence, the patrol car turning down the street every once in a while, well, that's a sort of gunboat diplomacy. But by itself it's too little.

Stop, Question & Frisk takes it straight to the people who need to get the message.

Anonymous said...

I can see "stopping" and "questioning" someone. Do those in the COP program have the authority to frisk? Isn't that a sworn officer's job?

babs said...

It's my understanding that COP members aren't even supposed to stop or question anyone or get directly involved in any way - they are merely to observe and then call for police backup if they see something untowards going on.

Anonymous said...

It's basically no different than what you can do now as a citizen except it makes it slightly less easy for the police to ignore your complaints.

Anonymous said...

I have always been wary that using the COP program would let the 71st off the hook from doing more visible, regular patrols here as we were begging for, for years. And get temporarily once in a while before all returns to what it was before. The COP program is swell but it's not the same as real police.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Anon 1:03. I was there last night. I assure you that's not what it's about. It's about getting more involved WITH the cops - being on a first name basis with them, being able to talk openly about problem spots, communicating. That's what it's REALLY about. Your anonymous comment is not making anyone safer, I can assure you of that.

The program has actually been working in the predominantly Jewish part of the precinct for some time, with great results. There are six men who are permitted in the program - and who've never had ANY problems whatsoever - who regularly ride around the area of Crown Heights south of Eastern Parkway and east of Brooklyn. They regularly interact with friendly neighborhood residents and no, they never get out of the car around suspicious characters and never stop to question anyone or god forbid frisk. They're there to observe and act as an added deterrent. They are also not there to make it possible for the cops to get away with lighter patrols. Dang some of y'all are tough to please sometimes!

There is another group of about six guys who do the same on weekends, and patrol all over, but only on the occasional Friday and Saturday. They are mostly Caribbean American, and include Karl Cohen the president of the 71st Community Council.

We were hoping to find a group dedicated to the Lefferts area. With the cynicism about the program, I'm wondering whether we'll find the 5-6 plus to get the program off the ground (I know of 4 right now). Btw, those that signed up before have to fill out the new forms - they instituted a new procedure, so we got to go up together one more time and do the one night training - again.

This is not a dangerous program, nor is it meant to substitute for cops. Speaking to the guys who've been doing it though, and to Lewis and Martinos, it can be very effective. If someone is interested in trying something effective for a change, please give me a holler.

- Insert Name Here - said...

COP (no pun intended) program is to be the eyes and ears of the neighborhood. You see some illegal activity going on, relay that information to a REAL COP. Identify trouble spots, document it and tell the police.

SIGH. What's with you people?

Anonymous said...

Of course this new program would not empower civilians to Stop, Question or Frisk. That's obviously a series of actions available only to the NYPD.

However, if the goal is to remove the bad actors from the local stage, the eyes and ears have to direct the cops to the thugs so the cops can harass them and/or lock 'em up.