RIOC’s amazing, invisible Public Safety Department grows more irritating, every day. In spite of being the biggest drain on public resources in the community, they’re harder than ever to find working.
By David Stone
Thursday, a sunny day, cherry blossoms opened, three of us talked outside the subway entrance.
“Did you see that? It’s the third set of bikes going the wrong way down a one-way street, and no PSD in sight.”
“Never see them, anywhere, anymore,” one friend reacted, shaking his head.
Roosevelt Island‘s invisible Public Safety Department made its mark, again, by failing to appear.
But we already knew that PSD isn’t up to the daring challenge of policing bike traffic, and that wasn’t the week’s worst of it.
RIOC’s amazing, invisible Public Safety Department…
In mild weather in Good Shepherd Plaza, the Farmers Market was busy on Saturday.
As noted before, Roosevelt Islanders are the best at maintaining social distances and wearing face masks.
This week was no exception.
But something was missing. Let’s flashback one year.
A year ago, PSD set up masks and gloves, made rules for the market and stood by to ensure everyone stayed safe. And officers were onsite.
What about this year?
The Farmers Market entrance without any gloves, rules, masks or, significantly, any officers. Not anywhere.
And not inside near the checkout line either.
Nor were they watching the busy crosswalk out front.
This isn’t just another exercise in exposing RIOC’s community neglect because it’s gotten so much worse.
After the internal snake pit at 591 Main Street ambushed then CEO Susan Rosenthal and saw their favorite installed in her place, attention to the details of public safety in the time of COVID tailed off.
Nobody rode herd anymore.
An appeal to do something about the expensive, ineffective, invisible PSD…
Last July, we made a common sense appeal to Defund Public Safety, but it wasn’t about aggressive over-policing. It was about recognizing the obvious excesses of a bloated staff:
“For evidence, you don’t have to wander around town for an hour or more as I do. Just read Public Safety’s monthly reports. Compiled for board meetings, they list all PSD activities.
“May’s report, this year, shows 167 ‘incidents,’ three per PSD employee.
“And that covers 31 Days. One reportable “incident” for each every ten days. But it’s worse than that.
“What’s considered an ‘incident’ is instructive.
“That is, well over half of May’s incidents, 91 in total, were either standing by while EMT’s responded to calls on the Island or handling lost and found.
“PSD payroll: 55 individuals. Budget: Approximately $4 million, roughly 12% of RIOC’s total, the majority collected from residents without consent.”Common Sense: Defund Public Safety. July 6th, 2020
It’s worse today because, at that time, PSD sent officers over, making a presence at the Farmers Market. There wasn’t much else, but at least we had that for our $4 million investment.
The not quite completely invisible Public Safety Department…
To be fair, we did spot a couple of officers.
With PSD’s crowded headquarters less than 100 feet away, we could imagine their availability.
And look closely. You can see a couple of busy PSD officers, one jaywalking across Main after another useless, windows-up patrol cruise. Partially obscured by the bus stop signs, another idles nearby, his hands buried in his pockets.
PSD is not alone in the gaggle of neglect, although likely the most expensive. Groundskeeping is an emerging horror story with the only visible sign of activity being the guy on the huge riding mower racing around like its the Indy 500 of lawn work.
Communications, too, is a shambles with the community even less informed now than at any time in in RIOC’s less than impressive history.
It remains to be seen if things can get any worse, but on the bright side, maybe the probable fall of Andrew Cuomo will mean building some accountability into the state’s heavy, expensive presence here.