More Officers Expected to Patrol BBP This Year
By Paul Frangipane
Special to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Every year Brooklyn Bridge Park continues to expand and every year crowds get larger and larger. As a result, the 84th Precinct of the NYPD has to constantly adapt its techniques to police the park.
Already this year, large crowds gathered at Pier 2 have led to fights, forcing the NYPD to close that section of the park down on April 11. As a result, Capt. Roberto Melendez has requested security cameras for the park, he said at the 84th Precinct Community Council meeting at Borough Hall on Tuesday.
Capt. Melendez said that, in addition to requests for security cameras, he will also put additional officers in the park this year and will continue to assess how to properly monitor the area in the future.
“What happened Tuesday was the first day of 80-degree weather, first day of spring. You had some basketball clinics going on, a lot of people came down,” said Capt. Melendez, who took over command of the 84th Precinct in February.
A woman was allegedly assaulted after a fight began on the pier that can accommodate up to 800 people, according to Melendez. Since the incident, he has identified all areas of the park that require increased surveillance and has requested NYPD cameras and a crime prevention tent on Pier 2.
In addition, the precinct will increase the number of cops to about three sergeants and 24 officers a day with seven-day coverage and additional help from surrounding precincts when necessary, including a counterterrorism unit to protect the new Brooklyn ferry.
“Are we going to have less crime than last year?” Melendez asked. “We’re going to try.”
Acting president of the Community Council Tony Ibelli was also given an honorary NYPD vest for his service. He stepped up to the position of president after former President Leslie Lewis died on Oct. 13, 2016.
“I really appreciate it,” Ibelli said while emblazoned with the bright blue vest. “I also appreciate our officers. Men and women … they’re just like you and I, they get up every day, they have a job to go to. The only difference is they’re willing to lay their life on the line to save your behind. And they’re not here to kiss it, they’re here to protect and serve it.”
Officers of the Month
The Officer of the Month honors for April were awarded to Robert Faivre of the 84th Precinct and Maureen Stefenelli of the 76th Precinct for saving a woman from jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge.
When Faivre was driving home from work on March 17, he noticed a woman drive across lanes of traffic to reach the side of the bridge and get out of her vehicle. Faivre approached the woman and struggled to stop her after she told him she was going to jump.
Stefenelli drove by and saw the two struggling before pulling over and helping Faivre recover the woman onto the roadside.
“These officers not only went above and beyond … they saved a life, but they put themselves in danger of incoming traffic, so I wanted to commend them for a great job,” Melendez said.
In a room displaying 11 seals of Brooklyn, Faivre and Stefenelli held their awards with smiles in front of fellow police officers and residents of the city.
“I just want to say on behalf of the borough president, we appreciate the service that you do to this community in helping to make it safer and easier for the residents that live here,” Nan Blackshear, community affairs director for the borough president, said to the recipients. “We commend you, we applaud you.”
There has been an increase in robberies and grand larcenies this month. According to Melendez, the robberies start as shoplifting incidents where security guards approach the alleged thieves, resulting in fights and eventually robberies.
“In reality, it is a shoplifting gone bad,” Melendez said.
When Melendez became captain of the 84th Precinct two months ago, there was a burglary problem that has since been decreasing due to policing tactics.
“I’m happy to say that we saw a decrease for the last two months,” he said. “We’ve seen a steady decrease in burglaries.”