To the Editor:
I attended last night’s Public Safety Committee meeting in the church. I asked questions about services that could, and should, be performed by Public Safety. Their response was, “Not enough manpower to handle that.” I’ve also witnessed the manpower that escorts Cornell’s trucks down Main Street, and observed the Public Safety officer who is stationed at the gate of Cornell’s construction. I was told that yet another officer is also stationed nearby.
Enough is enough! The community pays for the services of the Public Safety Department. And Cornell is depleting the services we pay for. Cornell should not be using our Public Safety officers as their private security during their construction, or at any time. They need to pay for their own separate service, or increase the staff of ours in order to cover their impacts on our community. Paying for the use of the staff we currently have is not okay. It drains our resources, regardless of whether Susan Rosenthal, the president of RIOC, says we have enough.
If we had enough, no parent walking down the promenade with her child would be assaulted because we’d have foot-patrols, instead of officers stationed where they protect against bottlenecks caused by Cornell’s construction. Do not tell us we have enough when our residents are harmed in broad daylight, and offenders who smoke pot are visible throughout the community – and inside our buildings where Public Safety is tasked with vertical patrols.
What is happening reminds me of the story of a warden who got paid by local industry to farm out inmates. His staff transported and watched over the workers while they were performing the tasks he was paid for. The staff was no longer available at the prison, although they were paid prison salaries. The warden stole taxpayer money to increase his revenue stream. It’s not okay when the money goes into private pockets, nor is it okay when the land-lease money each resident contributes to, in order to support the services we need, is used to fund protection for a multi-billion dollar project with multi-billion dollar tenants.
There is no excuse for street crime to occur in our community. And there is no excuse for lag time responding to emergencies. We pay for this protection. We are often told that the lag time occurs when an emergency is happening somewhere else. If that’s the case, we need more manpower, and RIOC’s failure to speak up and make that happen is harming our community!
We have 14,000 people to protect. I have witnessed lag-time responses myself. Being told that we should be happy with the status quo because it’s better than what happens in other places is a disgraceful response, particularly, when people suffer harm.
Roosevelt Islanders are doubly taxed for protection. We are taxed by the city and we are taxed through the portion of our rents that support our Public Safety staff. Each resident of Roosevelt Island deserves the protection we pay for.