Posted by: vote4claxton | May 7, 2005

NYPD A Sacred Cow

To the Editor:

While everyone feigns anger at the illogical decision of the Department of Homeland Security’s 40 percent counter-terrorism funding cut, few are critically analyzing the spending of the monies already allocated to defend the city against terrorist attack. Mayor Bloomberg’s abdication of his responsibilities to the Police Commissioner and the New York City Council’s refusal to insure NYPD transparency has created a police department that is without adequate oversight.

As dangerous as it is to decrease the Federal funding for counter-terrorism strategies, someone has to demand that the NYPD provide details of the substance of its efforts. Someone has to demand that the books are opened for review and critical analysis. Those of us who have dedicated ourselves to the service and safety of this city have earned the right to offer critical analysis of issues that present a clear and present danger to the public security.

Operation Atlas is sold as a program where uniformed Police Officers are assigned throughout the city in a “coordinated defense of the city, using regular patrols as well as police officers equipped with heavy weapons to safeguard landmarks, houses of worship, bridges, tunnels, subways, and the transportation system generally.” What Operation Atlas has become is a means to increase summons and arrest totals.

It is well-known and understood that precinct Police Officers assigned to Operation Atlas are not given counter-terrorism updates before assignment but are instead told what the summons or arrest “quota” will be for that day. What the NYPD has done is use the Federal funding to increase its statistical standing as opposed to providing deterrent services.

Further examination should include a review of the out-of-date technology in precincts throughout the city. Shockingly, NYPD precinct computers are without e-mail capabilities. It should be noted that part of the DHS justification for funding reduction was that the NYPD was faxing its reports, as opposed to electronic mail, which made it difficult to transfer the data to the Federal database. At the precinct level, voice mail is non-existent and the current computer technology is circa 1980.

Additionally, the NYPD still has not upgraded its communication radios with GPS capabilities, as has been recommended since this technology was developed. The most significant precinct level upgrade has been large flat-screen televisions that are supposed to enable the police commissioner to communicate directly with the troops. The televisions are most commonly used for local crime trends, as opposed to anything terror-related. Even the gas masks that were purchased, reportedly outside of the normal bidding process, are in danger of failure because of the absence of training about their proper storage.

Federal funding must be restored, but most importantly public confidence must be restored. A three-level audit (Federal, state, city) could perhaps restore that confidence and ensure that the counter-terrorism effort is exactly as indicated by Mayor Bloomberg and his go-to guy, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. Unregulated funding gives rise to the possibility of abuse and even more horrific, the reality that we are not being afforded the blanket of safety and preparedness that has been advertised.

Det. MARQ CLAXTON (Ret.), Spokesperson, 100 Blacks In Law Enforcement Who Care

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