By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Councilman Vincent Gentile was surrounded by police in John Paul Jones Park Wednesday morning. No, the two-term councilman wasn’t in trouble with the law – far from it, in fact.
Leaders of four law enforcement unions came to the Bay Ridge park to announce that they are endorsing Gentile’s re-election bid.
The Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, the Detectives’ Endowment Association, the Captains’ Endowment Association and the Lieutenants’ Benevolent Association all announced that they were supporting Gentile (D-Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights-Bensonhurst) for re-election.
“He understands and supports New York City police officers every day of his public life,” said Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association (PBA).
Lynch and other union leaders praised Gentile’s support of the local police precincts in his district, as well as his work to secure funding for security cameras on local commercial strips. Earlier this year, Gentile announced that he had obtained more than $100,000 to install high-tech cameras to be installed at several locations along Fifth Avenue.
The union leaders said the councilman also deserved praise for his successful efforts to convince the City Council to approve funds for bulletproof vests for cops.
The city’s streets are safer, according to Lynch, who said “it didn’t happen by magic.” The PBA president praised lawmakers for standing by police. “It happened with support from our elected officials,” he said.
The endorsement announcement took place near a World War I monument inside the park. John Paul Jones Park, located at Fourth Avenue and 101st Street at the for of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in Bay Ridge, is also known as Cannonball Park because it contains a Civic War era cannon.
Because of Gentile’s efforts, “people in this community can bring their kids to play in Cannonball Park without fear of being harassed by drug dealers,” Lynch said.
“He’s a law and order candidate. He has his finger on the pulse of what’s going on,” Michael Palladino, president of the Detectives Endowment Association, said. Turning to Gentile, Palladino said, “We support you 100 percent.”
Gentile is running for a third, and last, term representing the 43rd Council District in southwest Brooklyn. His Republican challenger is John Quaglione, deputy chief of staff to state Sen. Mary Golden (R-C-Bay Ridge-southern Brooklyn).
The councilman said he was grateful for the endorsements from “law enforcement experts” who “put their lives on the line.”
Keeping streets safe “is a key part of my job,” Gentile said. “And I could not do my job without their help,” he said, referring to the police.
Gentile vowed that if he is re-elected, he would wage a fight in the council to increase funding for the Police Department.