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.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Needham & Gardner - Know Your Cops By Name

They're our "Cagney and Lacey." Names? Needham & Gardner. They're YOUR cops, and they should be on your speed-email. Sean.Needham@nypd.org and Maximillia.Gardner@NYPD.org. They're part of the new and long overdue community policing initiative from the new leadership.

There's been a lot of talk in the news media about cops. The widespread belief in this country is that the Police view black folks as the enemy; that they too often profile; that they stop them more often, that they're more likely to use lethal force, and more likely to arrest and ultimately incarcerate blacks than whites. All of this is true to some degree, but as with any wide brush it belies the fact that there are many good cops who, when they take the oath to protect and serve, do so with a big heart and a desire to be fair and helpful. In my view, those cops need to be commended and promoted. The others, well, there's always security work at the mall on Staten Island.

So just as cops may internalize stereotypes about residents, so might we stereotype them. On some level we have to elevate the good and eliminate the bad. But we can't do without the police entirely. And so the Q would like to introduce you to two gentlemen who I believe have the neighborhood's well-being at heart - Officers Max Gardner and Sean Needham.

Max & Sean
 The Q sat down with the two men in blue over tea and crumpets (okay, Officer Gardner was finishing up some fast food and I was chewing gum) at the 71st, which I must say could use an overhaul if they ever put even a little money into the police stations themselves; this modernist low-rise is tremendously ugly and out-of-character. Also, an interior designer's touch is in order to - liven the place up a bit. Anyhoo, some things I learned include:

a) the new Community Policing effort is the baby of new NYPD Commissioner Jimmy O'Neil
b) the above guys are known as Neighborhood Coordination Officers, or NCO's
c) these guys cover Sector C (Charlie if you will) that means Ocean to NY Ave, Empire to Clarkson
d) they ACTUALLY read the 311 reports from the previous day, meaning your 311 calls do not go completely unnoticed, as you might have assumed
e) they tried giving out their cell phone #s but they're getting killed with texts, so please, email, and they promise to stay on top of them
f) they know a lot of the not-so-nice fellas on my block and nearby, by name, which made me feel better that they know their stuff
g) that most annoying drunk that hangs out on the stoop near Winthrop/Flatbush is named Roland
h) they're encouraged by command to get to know the community and attend any local functions, block association meetings, church shindigs, book groups what-have-you
i) they play a little hoops with the guys on Hawthorne
j) the Parkside Playground has quieted down a lot and it really is mostly about playing ball these days
k) there are pockets of gang members that they keep an eye on, but frankly there's only so much you can do without stepping over the line of good community policing
l) I offered, and they concurred, that we will not be able to stop every gang retaliation murder, but we have to stay open to new ways of preventing them


And that's where they won me over. They seem sincere about their desire to win our trust and work WITH us. But I gotta say that's going to be hard, and we all know it. They're going to have to be patient and tolerant of the anguish and resentment out there, because it's real, and it will fly in their face from time to time. On the other hand, it seems that they're off to a great start, and I'm a pretty good judge of character, and these guys are smart and sincere with a good sense of humor.

Let's give 'em a warm Sector C welcome, shall we?


7 comments:

No Spin said...

At the very least, the cops should have been a salt and pepper team.
Second, can we all say that stereotyping the police is just as bad as stereotyping members of a particular race. Eric Adams - One Tough Cop

Can Black Lives Matter be accused of profiling the police ?

Doctors commit malpractice and kill people...
Shouldn't the police be entitled to malpractice ?

Lets march on the hospitals.

James Parks said...

Do you happen to know if they live in the boundaries they are supposed to be policing? I really think this is imperative to really gain the community support and it forces them to more skin in the game as well.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

what's hilarious about your comment, though it's a good question, is that we talked about how expensive it is in the neighborhood. Most cops wouldn't choose to live here because it costs too much to own a place on their salary! Among other considerations of course. Think of the Upper East Side cops...not only would they not be able to afford it, they'd probably feel really uncomfortable there, and not because they were white! Speaking of which, we got the white guys in Sector C. The other Sectors have folks of color.

No, they do not live here. They have worked in Central Brooklyn for many years, and Max was born and lives in Brooklyn. Coney Island born.

Like I said, it's a good question, but I don't know that it's practical, or even legal, to require cops to live in the precinct.

babs said...

It's not even required that they live in NYC anymore, which is really a crime. Most of them live on LI and only know NYC through their interactions with bad guys. The ones who do live in the city mostly live on SI. Either way, they're really out of touch with everyday life here. Here's hoping this new effort changes that. Welcome, Officers!

Bob Marvin said...

Police Officers were never required to live in NYC. They're covered by the NY State Public Officer's Law, which requires them to live in the City, or an adjacent county and "adjacent" is VERY broadly defined.

WinFlatBed said...

I don't know if Starsky and Hutch is a better analogy than Cagney and Lacey but these guys are guys. Also they're beat patrolmen rather than detectives. They really seem to have gotten to know the area, the troublemakers and they seem to be enthusiastic about this new way of policing. They've made an impact here on Winthrop moving the bottle gangs off the corner - though these drunks come back pretty quickly even after being repeatedly ticketed. Evidently there are no real repercussions for low level criminal activity in Brooklyn. Caught selling weed or guns? You're back on the street the next day.

WinFlatBed said...

I don't know if Starsky and Hutch is a better analogy than Cagney and Lacey but these guys are guys. Also they're beat patrolmen rather than detectives. They really seem to have gotten to know the area, the troublemakers and they seem to be enthusiastic about this new way of policing. They've made an impact here on Winthrop moving the bottle gangs off the corner - though these drunks come back pretty quickly even after being repeatedly ticketed. Evidently there are no real repercussions for low level criminal activity in Brooklyn. Caught selling weed or guns? You're back on the street the next day.