NYPD Paperwork Stalls Purchase of New Police Vehicles
New York Daily News via YellowBrix
April 14, 2010
The NYPD is sitting on $103,000 slated for new vans for southern Brooklyn auxiliary cops, a state lawmaker has charged.
The state funds for the four vans have gathered dust for four years because Police Department officials have not filled out paperwork, while Coney Island and East Flatbush precincts expecting the vehicles for volunteer cops have seen crime increase this year.
“To be caught in bureaucratic red tape for my community is very frustrating,” said Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein (D-Canarsie) who secured $53,000 in 2006 to buy vans for both East Flatbush’s 67th Precinct and Canarise’s 63rd Precinct.
Former Assemblywoman Adele Cohen had locked up $50,000 to buy two more vans for her Coney Island district – which has experienced a 3.4% rise in crime since the beginning of the year.
Crime is up 5.7% in East Flatbush this year and has fallen 1.8% in Canarsie, according to NYPD statistics.
“Each van would make a big difference … police vehicles increase visibility at a time when we have a shrinking force. It could serve as a deterrent,” said Weinstein, who added auxiliary cops in her district now sometimes patrol on foot or use outdated vehicles.
NYPD Auxiliary Deputy Chief Tony Christo wrote in a 2006 letter to Weinstein that vehicles used by the volunteer cops were “not sufficient or often out of service.”
NYPD officials never completed the forms to buy the vans, said a state Dormitory Authority spokesman. The agency reviews government purchases such as the vans.
Weinstein said Police Department brass have told her they want to spend the money elsewhere.
“They would prefer for me to say, ’Here’s some money, do what you want with it,’” Weinstein said, who balked at the the idea. “Either the money goes into my community or, if it’s not needed, I’ll find other uses for it.”
NYPD officials did not respond to repeated requests for comment.
Civic activists in Coney Island were outraged that the NYPD has let the money go to waste.
“This is to save lives and the money is just sitting there,” said Community Board 13 member Pat Singer. “Where’s the man with the big scissors to cut through the red tape and get this job done?”